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University of California Bancroft Library/Berkeley 

Regional Oral History Office 

Adrian Wilson 

An Interview Conducted by 
Ruth Teiser 

1966 ' 


Adrian Wilson at 3^3 Front St., 1954 

Photograph by Ruth Teiser 
Reproduction rights reserved 

Thursday, February 4, 1988 


Adrian Wilson 
S.F. Printer 

Adrian Wilson, internation 
ally known fine printer, typog 
rapher and teacher, died yester 
day at Pacific Medical Center 
while awaiting a heart donor. 
He was 64. 

In 1983, Mr. Wilson was award 
ed a $280,000 MacArthur Prize. He 
was the first San Franciscan to win 
the prestigious award. 

Mr. Wilson, who arrived in San 
Francisco in 1946 after serving 
three years in civilian service as a 
conscientious objector during 
World War II, operated his business, 
called Press in Tuscany Alley, on 
Telegraph Hill. 

He was called "perhaps Ameri 
ca's most distinguished fine press 
printer and book designer" by Pa 
tricia Holt, The Chronicle's book ed 

She added, in a 1985 story, that 
"His work for university presses 
and museums, his scholarly re 
search of medieval manuscripts, his 
classes in library science and the 
history of the book at the University 
of California at Berkeley and most 
of all his adventurous and highly 
individualistic use of type and block 
illustration in the design of his own 
work have brought him unparallel 
ed stature." 

A native of Ann Arbor, Mich., 
Mr. Wilson studied at Wesleyan Uni 
versity before becoming a conscien 
tious objector and being drafted in 
to civilian public service. 

He spent time in a camp in 
Waldport, Ore., where he learned 

He and his wife, Joyce Lancas 
ter, founded a San Francisco theat 
rical group, The Interplayers, for 
which he printed programs. 

A book of his theater programs 
is considered a treasure. He also 

Winner of a MacArthur Prize 

turned out such works as "Art of 
Andrew Wyeth," "Ansel Adams: Im 
ages" and, in 1983, an autobiogra 
phy of his work, "The Work & Play 
of Adrian Wilson." 

Mr. Wilson won the MacArthur 
Prize while he was recovering from 
having a pacemaker inserted in his 
heart. He later invited 200 friends 
from around the country to a party 
at the Academy of Art College in 
downtown San Francisco. 

Mr. Wilson is survived by his 
wife and their daughter, Melissa W. 

There will be private services, 
and a memorial service is being 

Donations are preferred to the 
Department of Cardiology, Pacific 
Presbyterian Medical Foundation, 
2340 Clay Street, Suite 425, San 
Francisco 94115. 

Gleason Library Associates, Newsletter Number 8, Spring 1988 


by Andrew Hoyem 

Adrian Wilson, 1954. Photograph by Ruth Teiser 

Andrew Hoyem, director of the Arion Press, has been a San 
Francisco printer of increasing importance since shortly after 
World War II. He has written this account of his friend and 
fellow-printer, Adrian Wilson, for the Newsletter. 

Adrian Wilson, a highly regarded and well-loved 
member of the San Francisco book community 
who enjoyed an international reputation, died 
on February 4, 1988, at the age of 64. 
He was a typographic designer who had 
designs on every aspect of the work before him, whether 
it be a program for a play, a label on a spice bottle, or a 
book of nature photographs. Early in his career he became 
known for an exuberant style that pleased an admiring public. 
His colorful arrangements of type (Bruce Rogers' Centaur 
was his favorite) combined with attractive illustrative and 
decorative elements in a manner that was modern yet 
humane. Wilson was an altruist who applied his refined taste 
to mean and exalted subjects, in jobs and commissions 
accepted, follies indulged, or publishing ventures sponsored 
on his own. 

Adrian was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and studied at 
Wesleyan University before the Second World War, when 
as a conscientious objector he was sent to a camp in 
Waldport, Oregon. There he met the poet William Everson 
and learned to print. In 1946 he came to San Francisco. In 
those early days he joined forces with Jack Stauffacher to 
offer services of fine printing. The young designer and his 
wife, the actress Joyce Lancaster, were founding members 
of a theatrical group, the Interplayers. The playbills he pro 
duced for the company were used for his publication, Prin 
ting for TTieater, a volume now much sought after by 

Joyce and Adrian collaborated on several projects, resear 
ching, writing and designing such scholarly treatises on the 
history of printing as The Making of the Nuremberg Chronicle 
and A Medieval Mirror. He designed books for the University 

of California Press and for other University and trade 
publishers. Among the outstanding are Ansel Adams: Images 
and The Art of Andrew Wyeth. For the Book Club of 
California he printed several editions at his Press in Tuscany 
Alley, the address of his studio and home. 

In 1983 Adrian Wilson became the first San Franciscan 
to be named a Mac Arthur Prize Fellow, which allowed him 
time to pursue his work as a craftsman, typographer, and 
scholar. Although weakened by a heart condition for many 
years, he was unfailingly cheerful, optimistic, and seemingly 
tireless at his profession and in the activities of bibliophilic 
societies of the Bay Area. He was a Fellow of the Gleeson 
Library Associates. Adrian was an amiable man, generous 
with his time and advice to younger aspiring craftsmen and 
women. Many of his former apprenctices are now active in 
the fields of fine printing and graphic design. The Design 
of books, published in 1967, continues to be widely used by 
students and professionals alike. 

When I last spoke with him, by telephone to his hospital 
bed, Adrian's warmth and sense of humor were 
undiminished. I told him that Arion Press was beginning the 
printing of James Joyce's Ulysses, and he replied that he had 
read that immense novel while walking on a treadmill. That 
was back in the forties, he said, while he was serving out 
his term of alternate service as a conscientious objector and 
had been assigned to a medical experiment. First, he and 
his fellows in the test were placed on a moving belt and walk 
ed for weeks. Then the subjects were put to bed in a hospital 
to rest for an equivalent period. The object of the study was 
to determine the difference in muscle tone between the ac 
tive, exercising body and the same person in the passive 
mode. He reckoned that he was being put through the se 
cond half of the experiment a second time and would prefer 
reading while walking to reading in bed. 

I'd call Adrian Wilson a conscientious affirmator. Cer 
tainly the graphic evidence in his autobiography, The Work 
and Play of Adrian Wilson, testifies to a life of joyful creative 

All uses of this manuscript are covered by an agreement 
between the Regents of the University of California and 
Adrian Wilson, dated 21 December 1965. The manuscript 
is thereby made available for research purposes. All 
literary rights in the manuscript, including the right 
to publish, are reserved to Adrian Wilson until December 
31, 1999, or during his lifetime, whichever is later. 
No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication 
without the written permission of the Director of The 
Bancroft Library of the University of California at 


Adrian Wilson came to prominence as a printer in the 
busy, creative San Francisco of the post-war 1940's. His 
programs for the theater group, The Interplayers, brought 
him attention and acclaim* The books of poetry which 
followed, and his own work Printing for Theater, established 
him as a talented designer of fine printing. 

Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1923, Mr. Wilson first 
came to the West Coast during World War II. A pacifist, he 
was sent to a conscientious objectors' "fine arts" camp at 
Waldport, Oregon. There he took a hand in printing the 
camp's literary publications, and there he participated in 
theatrical productions. Following the war, he and his wife, 
actress Joyce Lancaster, came to San Francisco as members of 
the group which established The Interplayers. They have 
continued to live in the city. Wilson, who became a practical 
printer not through the traditional apprenticeship but largely 
through informal and self training, has in recent years de 
voted his major efforts to the designing of printing. 

At the time of the interview, Mr. Wilson had been working 
independently for several years, in a studio in his home at 
1 Tuscany Alley. The interview was conducted in one late 


morning session on October 6, 1965 In the living room of 
the Wilsons' pleasantly sequestered home In the center of 
a block low In the western slope of Telegraph Hill. 
Mr. Wilson expresses himself easily* Having thought out 
the material for the Interview In advance, he presented his 
recollections unhurriedly but directly and expedltlously. 
The Regional Oral History Office was established to 
tape record autobiographical Interviews with persons prom 
inent in recent California history a The Office is under 
the direction of Mrs. Wllla Baum, and under the administra 
tive supervision of the Director of The Bancroft Library. 
Past interviews by the Office which may supplement the 
material covered in this interview have been done with 
Brother Antoninus, Warren Howell, Albert Sperlsen, Edward 
deWitt Taylor, and Jane Grabhorn, and others are underway 
in the fields of literature, publishing, and printing. 

Ruth Telser 

10 May 1966 

Regional Oral History Office 
Room 486 The Bancroft Library 
University of California 
Berkeley, California 














(Lecture delivered September 14, 1965 at the 

University of California, Berkeley) 88 






Interview - October 6, 1965 

Wilson: My father's name was Adrian Peter Wezel. It waa a 

name that was a curse in Holland because they always 
made of it Ezel, which means donkey. In this country 
it became Weasel, which is even worse, (Laughter) 
So all through my boyhood we Buffered with this name. 
It got to the point when I went to high school that 
my family changed it. 

Teiaer: Was your father born in Holland? 

Wilson: Yea, so was my mother. He came to the United States 
in 1912. He had been educated as an horticulturist 
at one of the real old Dutch horticulture schools. 
However, he found very little opportunity in Holland 
and decided to come to the United States. So he 
worked on nrivate estates in the East. Then in 1-15 
he came to San Francisco to see the World's Fair, the 
Panama Pacific Exposition. He's always thought it 
was terribly prophetic that he should have done this 

Wilson: as a poor Dutch immigrant. It was one of the greatest 
experiences of hia life, both the Exposition and going 
to Yosemite Valley. So the walls of our house were 
always covered with photos of Yosemite and the sun 
going down behind Seal Rock and the Golden Gate and 
so on. All these things wtre familiar to me from 
early boyhood. 

Teiser: Where did you live? 

Wilson: This was in Ann Arbor, Michigan. That's where I was 
born. In order to get born I had to have my mother. 
In 1920 my father, after serving in the American Army, 
decided to go back to Holland to see his relatives again, 
and ,1ust to see whether he'd prefer to go back. But 
he found it terribly small and stultifying compared 
to his American experiences, so he decided to come 
back to the United States. On the same boat wopr a 
very frightened Dutch girl who was going to be a secre 
tary at the consulate in New York City - the Dutch Con 
sulate. Her name was Christine van der Goot. She is 
naturally an extremely timid person, at least on the 
surface, but she has great fortitude in many ways. 
She needed a guide to the new world and my father 

Wilson: quickly took her in tow, showed her the sights of New 
York. He continued to work outside of New York on an 
estate. Eventually they decided to get married. He 
had, at this uoint, found a job at the University of 
Michigan as head of the botanical gardens. They planned 
to build a special cottage there for him and new green 
houses. So, that's where I was born. 

Teiser: What year? 

Wilson: 1923. My brother was born there two years later. 

Teiser: What 's his name? 

Wilson: Norman Henry Wilson. At the botanical gardens the things 
I remember are sitting in tremendouse fields of flowers 
and thinking how beautiful the world was. Also there 
was a tremendous construction project - the University 
of Michigan stadium, which was at the time the biggest 
in the country, was being built. We'd go over there 
and watch its progress. All the greenhouses were ex 
panding and my father was winning prizes for his chry 
santhemums. So that we lived in a really burgeoning 
world. Dad was quite ambitious, and with my mother's 
help as a secretary, he wrote letters to every other 
university in the United States. He finally got a 

Wilson: better Job at Smith College in Northamnton, Massachu 
setts. This was 1930. That was a wonderful place to 
grow up as a boy because of the rich cultural atmosphere 
at Smith. All the great concert orchestras were coming 
through. I went to the Smith College Day School, a 
progressive school run by the college for the students 
in education courses. It was really an independent 
school - set up, I think, originally, for the children 
of the faculty. 

Also, during this period, my mother became active 
in the peace movement. She was with the Fellowship of 
Reconciliation, which was very active then. 

Teiser: She was a member of the Fellowship? 

Wilson: Yes. Also, she was the head of the local chanter of 

the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. 
Many were the rallies my brother and I marched in. 

One of the first memories I have of anthing re 
lating to printing is a poster which the organization 
had put out. It was called "Toys of Death," and it 
showed a little boy playing with cannons and tin soldiers. 
It made a big impression on me. Then the Women's In 
ternational League wanted to reproduce it in the town 

Wilson: newspaper, so my mother had a cut made. She brought 

home the cut. I got very curious about it and wondered 
how it could be printed. She didn't know, so I said 
to myself: "Maybe if I put writing ink over it and 
pressed it on the paper it would print." I tried it, 
but nothing happened. (Laughter) 

Teiser: Just think, your printing career might have ended. 

Wilson: Yes, I was terribly discouraged. No matter how hard 
I stamped on it, it wouldn't print. (Laughter) The 
necessity of a tacky ink never occurred to me, of course. 

Unfortunately about 1937 Dad was fired from Smith 
College, and suddenly this blissful period ended. He 
had a run-in with one of the faculty members. Here 
it was the depths of the depression, no job, and all 
Dad could do to earn a living was to type theses for 
the college girls. Finally after much hunting - about 
two years - he found a job on a private estate in Pride's 
Crossing on the Gold Coast north of Boston - the North 
Shore, as it is properly called. So we moved to Pride's 
Crossing and lived in the great manor house of the es 
tate, overlooking the bay - Salem and Marblehend. 

Wilson: I went to Beverly High School, did pretty well, and 
was made editor of the yearbook. I decided that we 
needed a poem for each member of the class and there 
were four hundred of them. It seemed like a small 
challenge to stay up half of the nipht writing verses 
about people I hardly knew at all. (Laughter) Then 
it came to the point of sending them to the high school 
print shop. The r>oems, which I had so neatly type 
written, came back so completely garbled that I had 
an utter loathing for printers. There was nothing 
lower, I thought, than being a printer. 

Also, for that yearbook, I made a small dummy 
and got estimates from several nrinters. I was very 
intrigued by the kind of cover which is stuffed like 
a pillow and has an overall photograph of the school 
on it. I thought that was what we must have. When 
the estimates came in I had to abandon the whole thing. 
The yearbook came out looking terrible. (Laughter) So 
I was finished with anything to do with nrinting. 

During this period college enrollment was so easy 
to come by that one could compete, if one had a half- 
decent academic record, for scholarships at various 

Wilson: colleges. So I applied to Harvard, Amherat and Wes- 
leyan. Harvard admitted me but didn't come through 
with a scholarship. Amherst came through with one 
and Wesleyan came through with a better one. I'm 
sure that it was a difference of all of $50, but 
anyway, I went to Wesleyan. My ma .lor interests 
when I went to school were English literature and 
music, playing the clarinet. I started playing the 
clarinet back in Northampton. They had an excellent 
English department at Wesleyan. They permitted me 
to sit in on advanced lectures in my freshman year, 
so that I immediately became acquainted with Proust, 
Eliot, and Pound and was swept into the whole world 
of English literature. 

At the same time my mother had refused to let 
me join a fraternity. She'd seen how fraternity boys 
behaved at house parties, how drunk they got, and what 
terrible things went on there, so I couldn't ,1oin a 
fraternity. This left me having to eat at the local 
restaurants. At one of them I ran into a few other 
fellows who also hadn't joined fraternities. It turned 
out to be the most brilliant group. They were mostly 


Wilson: Juniors and seniors then, while I was still a fresh 
man. This little conversation group, usually at both 
lunch and dinner, was as stimulating as you could ever 
dream of. Some were majoring in physics, one in re 
ligion, another in English literature. They covered 
the whole spectrum. 

Teiser: What year was this? 

Wilson: This would have been 1941. Of course, one Sunday after 
noon while we were listening to the New York Philharmonic 
symphony at one of the faculty members' houses, the pro 
gram was broken into with the great announcement that 
the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. That meant that 
we would have to be drafted, and college days were soon 
to be over. 


Wilson: During this period, also, several of the members of 

our conversation dinner group turned out to be pacifist- 
ically inclined. They had an P. 0. R. (Pellowshio of 
Reconciliation) chapter at the college, led by two of 
the philosonhy professors. Also, a Quaker Meeting was 
being started at Wesleyan. So I became tremendously 
interested in and dedicated to these grouns and gradually 
decided that I would have to apoly to be a conscientious 

Teiser: You had not been a member of the Friends? 

Wilson: No. 

Teiser: Did you become one? 

Wilson: Yes, I became a member of the Meeting. Of course, mem 
bership in the Quakers is largely a voluntary thing. 
If you're so inclined you're usually accepted. As a 
result of this I was able to write a sufficiently good 
defense of my position, so that I was classified 4E, 
which was the conscientious objector's classification. 

Bancroft Library 


Wilson: I was drafted in the spring of 1942 and sent to a camp 
at Big Flats, New York. I only stayed there for about 
a week and then was transferred to Trenton, North Da 

Teiser: How many years had you had in college, ,1uat one year 

Wilson: One and a half years. The C. 0. camps (under govern 
ment direction) were subsidized and administered by the 
historic peace churches, the Mennonites, the Brethren, 
and the Quakers. Each of those churches has a service 
committee, and the American Friends Service Committee 
administered the camt) at Trenton. But unlike the Men 
nonites, the Quakers were very open to having neonle 
who were in the camps for any reason, whether political 
or Jehovah's Witnesses, or Catholics, or whatever back 
ground they came from. 

Teiser: Were you simply sent where someone else wanted you to 

be or did you have some control over where you were sent? 

Wilson: At that time we were sent. However, after you became 

familiar with the system it appeared that if you applied 
for a transfer elsewhere you could get it. So we kept 
always looking for projects that were more interesting, 

Bincroft libran 


Wilson: such as mental hospitals. That was something I did dur 
ing the summer between my freshman and sophomore year 
at college, was to work in a mental hospital as an at 
tendant - a revealing experience that helped eventually 
with fine printing, dealing a lot with humanity. (Laughter) 
But the project at Trenton, North Dakota was simuly 
leveling off the Missouri River bottomland in western 
North Dakota, near Williston. The ironic thing was 
that after building all these farms, oil was discovered 
in that very area and all the farms were abandoned. 
Now there is just a forest of oil wells. I went back 
to see it. 

During this period I became very interested in 
Quaker philosophy, the mystics and the saints - like 
Saint Francis. I decided that one thing I could do, 
because obviously one of the great causes of war was 
the desire for material possessions, was to declare 
myself to be in voluntary poverty, a state in which 
one gives all of his possessions to the community. 
According to a phrase that I picked up somewhere, "The 
true monk possesses only his lyre." So I kept my 
clarinet, but that was all I owned. (Laughter) 


Wilson: lii the hours when I wasn't working on the project, I 
and a few other friends who were similarly disposed 
would go into the wheat towns and ask people on the 
street if we could help them, in cleaning up things, 
helping them load trucks, or whatever - just the saint 
ly life of giving freely to others. 

However, I had just enough of the taste of civil 
ization so that after about a year the North Dakota 
life began to pall a little. At that point a grout) 
of doctors appeared from the University of Minnesota. 
They were conducting experiments in the Laboratory of 
Physiological Hygiene and needed human guinea nigs. 
These tests included bed rest, the deteriorating effect 
of going to bed after an operation or with a disease! 
life raft rations; starvation, and so on. We were very 
worried at that point whether these things were being 
used in the war effort. But we were assured that they 
weren't. The question of whether life raft rations 
would give a flier who was shot down another chance 
to fly again and kill again we mulled over by the 
hour. We finally decided that it was in the best 
interests of humanity. Nevertheless, at the end of 
the war I got a beautiful certificate from the War 


Wilson: Department thanking me for my contribution to the war 
effort! (Laughter) After a year of treadmill walking, 
starving, etc, the experiments reinforced in me a dis 
gust with science as opposed to art or the huraanities-- 
a disgust with the stratification of everything on a 
scientific basis. I realized that I was primarily in 
terested in the arts. 

After the experiments were over I'd heard that one 
of the C.O. camps was being set up on the Oregon coast 
as a "fine arts camps." The artists had been notorious 
trouble-makers in other campe, and the Service Committees 
decided to put all of them in one camt> as far away from 
the centers of civilization as possible. They could 
just work on each other and bother no one else. (Laughter) 

Teiser: Who set up that camp? 

Wilson: It was sponsored by the Brethren of all people, who have 
no more connection with art--it's ,1ust a nice, whole 
some Midwest peace church. My transfer came through and 
I hitch-hiked across the country to Waldport? 

Teiser: How did that happen? Were you just given a leave? 

Wilson: Yes. They gave me the funds, I think, to travel, but 


Wilson: I preferred to hitchhike. We, of course, weren't paid 
anything in the camps. I think we were given two 
dollars a month allowance and thnt was it. The rest 
was volunteer. 

Teiser: When was that? 

Wilson: This would have been the summer of 1944. I found that 
the "fine arts" group (at Waldport) weren't painting 
and writing poetry and playing music as I had expected. 
The first thing I saw was a printing press with a man 
named William Everson, who had organized the prorram, 
feeding sheets for a book of his noetry into it. I 
was really horrified because it turned out to be a 
publishing house rather than what I imagined an art 
community should be. In the meantime I was assigned 
to the cleaning crew within the camp. One of my mates 
in pushing the broom around was a fellow named Martin 
Ponch. He was at that camp as editor of The Compaa s , 
the magazine for the Civilian Public Service system, 
the over-all government administration of all the camps, 
One day, as we were sweeping away, he told me of this 
terrible problem he was having in printing the covers 
of the magazine. He had had the black form printed by 


Wilson: offset in Portland, Oregon. But each sheet was out 
of register. In other words, the image was on a 
different place on each sheet. He wanted to add 
linoleum blocks in several colors, but there was no 
way to register them. I agreed to take a look at 
his problem. As we swept, my mind started working, 
although I knew nothing about the mechanics of print 
ing, or how one would go about registering color blocks 
into a previously printed form. Soon I worked out a 
system in which each cover was slipped into pieces of 
slitted cardboard, so that the image on each sheet 
could be registered with the slits. The cardboard was 
then fed to the guides. We had a crew of about ten 
working on it, inserting the sheets. The cress ran again! 
The job was saved! 

Teiser: What kind of press did they use? 

Wilson: It was an old platen press called the Challenge-Gordon, 

14" x 22", "a clam-action monster of incalculable vintage," 
as Everson once called it in a colophon. 

Teiser: (Laughter) Let me interrupt you just a second and ask 
you about Everson. He, at that time, had experience 
in printing? 


Wilson: Yes, he came from a family of printers. His father 
was a printer in Selma, California. He'd had his 
rebellion against his father and hated printing. But 
what little he had learned of it came in very handy. 
So when he and a few others arrived at the camp to 
start the Pine Arts Program, they bought this great 
press from a .junk dealer in the town of Waldport. 

Teieer: Imagine there being one there. 

Wilson: Yes. It cost $90. Fortunately there was a professional 
pressman who was in the camp, a man from Chicago who 
had no interest whatever in the art. But he knew how 
to get a press functioning. He soon left camp for the 
army, and the artists were left on their own to fight 

with the monster. 
Teiser: This waa really the beginning of Bverson's career? 

Wilson: No, not really. He'd had a couple of books of poetry 
published before the war. One of them was printed by 
Ward Ritchie. These were his San Joaquin Poems. It 
established, in his mind at least, a pretty high stand 
ard of what a book should be. At the same time, we 
were constantly seeing the books that New Directions 
were putting out, like the Poet of the Month series. 
It was more or less on those books that the Waldport 


Wilson: series of poetry books was modeled. New Directions 
used the best printers in the country and sold them 
for fifty cents. Since we didn't count our labor 
as being worth anything, we sold them for twenty- 
five cents. (Laughter) 

Teiser: How many of them did you put out? 

Wilson: I think there were about five put out at Waldport. 
At first I had no connection with them at all. I 
was helping Martin Ponch with The Compass magazine 

Teiser: Writing? 

Wilson: Not writing, just assembling it, more or leas. As 
material came in to be nrinted I would more or less 
organize it so that we could decide just how much to 
have in an issue. But then, gradually, I realized that 
Everson's gang needed some help with type-setting so 
I helped out on aome of the books. Finally, Ponoh 
convinced me to print a whole section of the magazine, 
the poetry section - setting and printing all through 
the night when the press wasn't being used by the Un- 
tide grouo. 

Teiser: What was the Untide group? 


Wilson: That was the name of the poetry book section. It 
has an odd derivation. There was a mimeographed 
newspaper called The Tide within the caran. Those 
who rebelled against the mimeographed newspaper called 
theirs The Untide. (Laughter) I think there's a 
John Donne quote: "That which is not tide is untide." 

Teiser: What was your project? 

Wilson: A section of The Compass magazine devoted to poetry. 

Teiser: Oh, I see, to go into the regular magazine. 

Wilson: That was my total project on my own. By the time I'd 
finished with that, I realized it was slavery standing 
in front of a press all night. 

Teiser: How long did it take you to actually do it? 

Wilson: I don't know, it seemed like night after night, week 
in and week out. 

Teiser: Over a long period? 

Wilson: Yes. 

Teiser: How many cages was it? 

Wilson: I don't know, it must have been perhaps twenty-four 

Bancroft Librar 


Wilson: Another aspect of the Waldport program I should mention, 
It was very soon after I arrived that some people arriv 
ed from the Hedgerow Theater in Pennsylvania, which had 
been traditionally pacifist, and was the oldest contin 
uing repertory theater in the United States. They had 
a very high standard of production, particularly of 
the modern classics, Ibsen, Chekhov, Strindberg, and so 
on. Martin Ponch had also been an actor in New York, 
so these people immediately decided that they should 
have theatrical productions there at Waldport. 

Teiser: Was Martin Ponch primarily an actor? 

Wilson: Yes, originally he'd been an actor in the New York 

theater, mainly character parts. He was quite a young 
man. I suppose he was in his thirties. But he had the 
ability and physical make-up to do a whole range of 
character parts. The only problem then was that there 
were no women in the camp. So we were very limited in 
what we could do. We did an original by Martin, called 

B.neroff Library 


Wilson: Tennessee Justice, whioh was a race relations play. 

But then two fellows arrived who were musicians. One 
of them was named Broadus Erie. He was a really first 
rate concert violinist. He'd been first chair in sev 
eral symphony orchestras. So we started a string quar 
tet there. He had come with a man named Robert Harvey 
who also played violin. So they were the first and 
second violins. We didn't have any viola. So I olayed 
the viola part on the clarinet. We did have an ex 
cellent cello. We gave little concerts in the camp. 
Both of them (Erie and Harvey) had found that there 
were some tourist cabins across the coast road whioh 
weren't being used because of gas rationing. So they 
decided that they would have their wives come out from 
New York and perhaps they could work in some of these 
art projects, too. 

Harvey's wife was Joyce Lancaster. She came out. 
I'd had an inkling she was coming because it turned out 
she was an old friend of my philosophy professor at 
Wesleyan, one of the major pacifists on the Wesleyan 
campus, and had met my mother at his home. So I had 
known something about her. When she arrived, immediately 


Wilson: we started in on a production of Ibsen's Ghosts, Joyce 
was cast as Mrs. Alving. I was assigned to running the 
lights. Our equipment was very primitive. We had 
tin can spotlights - giant tomato cana - and salt water 
dimmers, which boiled and fumed as the play went on. 

As a result of this experience I became tremendous 
ly interested in the theater and also tremendously in 
terested in Joyce. It turned out her marriage was rather 
rocky. Aa things developed we became more involved with 
each other. Finally she decided that the situation was 
impossible and that she'd better go back to their farm 
in the Catskill Mountains in New York. This left me 
at the camp. However, the whole C.O. situation by then 
was disintegrating anyway. One's feeling that he was 
making any testimony or saying anything against war 
was rather futile at that point. The work of the pro 
jects seemed meaningless. It was mostly planting trees, 
hacking away at the earth, although occasionally fighting 
forest fires, too. 

One of the movements that got started in the camps 
was called "Walking-out." This was purposely going 


Wilson: A.W.O.L., informing the P.B.I, of your whereabouts 
and thereby telling the government that you were an 
independent spirit and they had no right to keep you 
at meaningless labor. So I got caught up with this 
and decided to join Joyce in the East. We both event 
ually settled near the Hedgerow Theater and Joyce went 
to work there. There was a Quaker graduate center 
called Fendle Hill, also outside of Philadelphia. I 
went to live there. We saw quite a bit of each other 
that winter. We met some people who were in the drama 
department at Swarthmore. One of them was very eager 
to start a theater. We had by then decided pretty well 
that we should start a theater, too. So after many 
discussions we decided we ought to scout some of the 
cities in the United States and see if maybe there 
was more of a possibility on the West Coast. Holly 
wood had already contaminated Los Angeles, it rained 
too much in Seattle. Finally we decided that I should 
go out to San Francisco and see if that had any possi 
bilities for a theater. 

By this point the war was just over. The F.B.I, 
somehow hadn't pounced on me despite the fact that I 
had been out of camp for about a year and a half and 
had kept them informed of where I was. But they had 


Wilson: plenty of other things to think about. So I came 

out to San Francisco and soon found that there wasn't 
any theater going here except one occasionally pro 
ducing group called the Theater Arts Colony. I talked 
to the director of that theater and he told me that 
it would be impossible to start one here. 

Teiser: Who was he? 

Wilson: Arthur B. Gleditsch. He said that the minute you tried 
to open your doors the fire department would descend on 
you; that there was a conspiracy by the big nrofessional 
theaters to keep any little theaters out. Furthermore, 
he said we needed a lot of capital to do it and that 
the situation was just hopeless. I didn't agree with 
him at all. At that time I discovered the Ferrier 
Theater, the French theater on Washington Street, The 
Ferriers were Just retiring and wanted to sell their 
place. This gave us a vision of how one could run a 
theater and combine it with a restaurant and have 
people living in the rooms upstairs - a real "divine 
community" effort. As it turned out the Ferriers wanted 
$25,000 for their building, an appalling sum. None of 
us had ever heard of mortgages. (Laughter) I was alone 


Wilson: at that point* I met a few people here who were 

similarly interested, but it did begin to seem hope 
less to me too. 

Teiser: This was 1945? 

Wilson: Yes. I was working at the only thing I knew how to 

do to turn a penny, printing. I'd heard of a minister 
who had a press in Oakland, so I worked there for 
about three weeks. 

Teiser: Who was he? 

Wilson: His name was Ralph Odom; it was on 12th Street in Oak- 
land. Everything seemed to be going fine until sud 
denly the F.B.I, pounced. There was a nice little 
period during which I was in seven jails in eleven 
days. I finally ended up in Portland, which was the 
"scene of my crime," having "walked out" of the camp 
in Oregon. At this noint the whole chain of circum 
stances brought Joyce and me together again. Joyce 
was working in Seattle. She came down to see some of 
her old C.O. friends, some of whom had been released 
from the camps and were living in Portland. The word 
had gotten out that I was in the jail in Portland, 
destined to linger there forever. So, she came down 

Wilson: to the jailhouse to see me. We decided that, having 
been separated this long and still being in love, the 
only thing to do was to get married. So through the 
American Civil Liberties Union ahe arranged bail and 
I was "sprung." 

We set up housekeeping in a log cabin in Union, 
Washington, on the Hood Canal in June, 1946. It's 
a beautiful place. Just by working a little, picking 
oyster off the beach, and weaving cedar bark mats we 
managed to survive for a whole summer. A few other 
0.0. 's settled there too - painters like Wilfred Lang, 
and Clayton and Barbara James - on some land owned by 
Waldo Chase, also a pacifist artist. Morris Graves, who 
had come to live at Waldport after his rebellion against 
the army, was a frequent visitor at Union and was doing 
his best bird and ceremonial bronze paintings at the 
time. As a matter of fact, we had a couple of exhi 
bitions of Graves' work in camp, paintings priced at 
$15 or $25 which would bring thousands today. We re 
produced some of these by offset in the same issue of 
Compass for which I printed the poetry section. 

In the meantime we had a group of round -robin 
letteys going with some of our theater friends, Kermit 


Wilson: Sheets and Martin Fonch among them. This idea of 

beginning a theater somewhere was pressing. Event 
ually we decided that San Francisco was it and that 
we should meet there on a certain day in September, 
1946. At that point we had sold enough cedar bark 
mats so that we could see our way clear to hitchhike 
down the coast and perhaps survive a weekend in San 
Francisco. We arrived here but unfortunately we'd 
had a great coffin-like box shipped with our possess 
ions in it, and whoever we entrusted with expediting 
the box had sent it by express. When it came, it 
cost so much that it absolutely bankrupted us. For 
tunately, Joyce got a Job immediately as a teacher 
at what is now the Laurel Hill Nursery School. She's 
still there, as director, now. 

In the meantime, Kermit Sheets and Martin Ponch 
had already arrived here. 

Teiser: Where had Kermit Sheets been? 

Wilson: He'd been down in Los Angeles. 

Teiser: And he had been in your camp? 

Wilson: That's right. That was a whole aspect I didn't mention: 
a publication which was called the Illiterati. an avant- 
garde little magazine of poetry and prose - Rexroth and 
so on. 


Teiser: Was Rexroth in your camp? 

Wilson: No. He was somebody we knew about in San Pranoisoo. 
The Illiterati also published Henry Miller, Kenneth 
Patchen, and so on. Sheets worked on the "little 
magazine" with a Los Angeles architect named Kemper 
Nomland, who was very much inspired by the Bauhaus, 
sans serif type, and contemporary architecture. It 
was at variance with Everson's approach, which was 
very classical. The printing at Waldport constantly 
vacillated between the two approaches. 

Teiser: Was Kermit Sheets involved in the theater, too, in 

Wilson: Yes. He had, I think, taught some drama in a high 
school before, so he had gotten active in these 
productions, too. Another member of the Untide 
Press and Illiterati groups was William Eshelman, 
who later became the librarian at Los Angeles State 
College. But the big influence in the Illiterati 
and later in the Untide Press was Kemper Nomland, 
in the design aspect. In fact, Nomland and Eshel 
man moved the press to Los Angeles after the war 
and produced several things. 



Wilson: Kermit Sheets had done some productions after the 
war in Los Angeles and he had a few friends here, 
so gradually with this little nucleus of people 
we started rehearsing in San Francisco at the Quaker 
Center - the Friends' Center, as it was called, on 
Sutter Street, Our first productions were two Chek 
hov one-acts. 

Teiser: Were you at that time participating in the theatrical 
activities - were you an actor ever? 

Wilson: Yes. We were desperate for actors, and so even I was 
put into a role. 

Teiser: What was your contribution mainly? 

Wilson: Well, primarily as a theater builder, an organizer. 
(Xaughter) Simply, I did everything that needed to 
be done short of considering myself a full-time actor. 
Of course, in order to keep body and soul together for 
these productions, I had to find a Job; I realized 
that printing was the only thing I had any experience 


Wilson: with. So I combed through the phone book and found 
something called the Pacific Music Press. Being a 
clarinetist I'd always been curious about how music 
was printed. I decided I'd find where it was on 
Howard Street, and ask for a job. Lo and behold, the 
proprietor was a very warm-hearted German of the old 
school who, when I told him I was a clarinetist, said 
that was fine, it was enough qualification. (Laughter) 
So he put me to work. 

Teiser: What was his name? 

Wilson: Kurt Rainer. It was an interesting shop because it 

combined engraving and lithography - direct engraving 
onto metal plates and pulling proofs of those and 
transferring them to lithograph plates. It had not 
been long before that they were actually printing from 
stones. They still had the old stones there. Also 
they had one of the earliest offset lithography presses. 
Unfortunately Mr. Rainer decided to out me in the letter- 
press cover printing department. There was no particu 
lar design for the covers. He simply looked into his 
old stock cut book and if it was a Hawaiian song about 
a little grass shack, he would look through his book 
and find Uncle Tom's Cabin or something and he'd say, 


Wilson: "That's good enough, we use it." (Laughter) But I was 
constantly doing experimental things with the type. I'd 
been allowed to set un some of the headings for these 
covers. There were times when he blew up in horror at 
my attempts at modernism. 

As the theater developed we became more and more 
interested in finding a building* The Quakers weren't 
too happy with the plays we were doing, things like 
Sartre's No Exit. So we kept hunting for buildings. 
One day as Joyce and I were going down Sutter Street, 
we saw a building that looked like it had some possi 
bilities. We got off the trolley car and went up to the 
building and lo and behold it was a print shop. It was 
the Grabhorn Press. I decided to ask for a Job. By 
that time I was discouraged with the work at Pacific 
Music Press. They still hadn't put me in the engraving 
department, and for months I did nothing but gather and 
staple The Spike Jones Song Book. 

Teiser: Why did you particularly want to be in the engraving de 

Wilson: Because I wanted to know how music was done, to really 
be able to engrave music. Whenever I saw another print 


Wilson: shop I always thought about asking for a job and sometimes 
I did. But I always made sure first to find out what 
kind of work they did. 

There standing at the type case was Bob Grabhorn. 
I asked him what kind of press this was? He said, "We 
do books." I said, "What kind of books?" Instead of ex 
plaining what they did he handed me the great Grabhorn 
bibliography. Joyce and I opened it, aghast that such 
a magnificent thing could have been done in San Prancis- 
co. So I asked him then if he ever needed any help. He 
said, "No." But I kept coming back. Then, as we needed 
programs for our first plays, I found this group of an 
archists - poets and marijuana addicts - who had a little 
press which was in a tool shed Just three blocks from 
the Grabhorns. So after a very discouraging time getting 
paper, (which is pretty well explained in Printing for 
Theater.) it turned out the Grabhorns had a great scrap 
pile of trimmings. 

Teiser: Incidentally, did anyone at Crown-Zellerbach ever object 
to your use of the word cartel in the book Printing for 

Wilson: (Laughter) I once saw Glory Palm Carlberg, who was their 

Wilson: public relations director. She said, "I read that thing 
you wrote about us. I can give it out, too, and I can 
take it. It's okay by me." (laughter) 

The Grabhorns were irery generous with their scrap 
stockpile. They gave me some interesting little pieces 
of heavy green paper. So I thought, I really ought to 
print a business card. Maybe I could do some more print 
ing at the little press since the anarchists never use 
it except in the middle of the night sometimes. 

Teiser: Do you really mean that at that late date there were many 
people who considered themselves anarchists? 

Wilson: Oh yes. Rexroth was one of the leading anarchists. W e 
went to many meetings organized by him at the Workmen's 
Circle. I remember we had some fine meetings - George 
Woodcock, who is an English anarchist; Rexroth was always 
there in his flowing cape. There were poetry readings 
and so on. It was still considered a lively, legitimate 
movement. I think part of its interest was heightened by 
the Spanish Revolution, 

Teiser: But this was some years after that* 

Wilson: Yes, it was. But this, of course, put u in touch with 
some of the old guard of San Francisco. We knew about 
some of the artists like Ralph Stackpole and Benny Bufano 


Wilson: who had been here since before the war. Also, we became 
acquainted with some of the poets like James Broughton. 

Teiser: I was going to ask about him. He participated in your 
theater, did he? 

Wilson: He wrote a couple of plays which we finally did. Then 

there was Robert Duncan whom we saw often at tmrties 

and poetry readings. By this time Everson had come down 

from the camp. He'd been released. He first set ut> a 
hand press at a farm in Sebastopol and then moved it down 
to Mary Fabilli's Maybeok house on Ashby Avenue in Berke 

Teiser: Was there a climate of theater interest in San Francisco? 

Wilson: We were rather disappointed in it, yet we did manage to 
draw audiences of, say, one hundred people for a couple 
of week-ends at the Friends* Center. But eventually we 
had a tremendouse success with No Exit, which was the 
first production of a Sartre play on the West Coast. The 
city editor of the Chronicle. John Bruce, came to it. He 
persuaded or bludgeoned the Chronicle critic, John Hobart, 
to come out to the Palace of the Legion of Honor - "that 
all but inaccessible monument," he called it in his review 
- and see it. It was the first decent blast of publicity 
we had gotten. 

And Weldon Kees, whose Poems 19U7-195U I eventually published just 
before his apparent suicide. 


Wilson: This would have been 1947* In the meantime, of course, 

we were constantly on the lookout for a building, Finally 
we found one at the corner of Hyde and Beach Street, which 
is now occupied by the Playhouse. The building was owned 
by the Davis Hardwood Company. Mrs. Lulu Davis, who pre 
sided over the wonderful old San Francisco firm, had a 
soft heart for the theater. So she leased the building 
to us for $150 a month. 

Teiser: Didn't she live over the t>art which is now Rolf's Restaurant? 

Wilson: Yes, she lived in the loft above her office. The present 
Interplayers building was the planing mill of the Davis 
Hardwood Company. It's funny how short all these things 
live. After she died her son took over, and in a couple 
of years he died; things change. In any case, we realized 
that we had a tremendouse potential, once we got this 
building. We had a concrete floor poured. Endless argu 
ments resulted from that. Martin Fonoh insisted that a 
theater should have a wooden floor. Things got so bitter 
about that, that he didn't stay with the company much long 
er. It wasn't just that, of course* 

Teiser: But he did leave fairly early. 

Wilson: Yes, and he started on his Theater for the World project. 


Teiser: Where is he now? 

Wilson: He has the Firehouse Repertory Theater on Sacramento. 

So we did these first plays, and then, with the new 
building, I wanted to set up a little print shoo there. 
Life was getting a little complex. At the time we were 
doing these first productions, the problem of making a 
living was constantly rearing its ugly head. I soon had 
quit the job at the Music Press and decided that I could 
make a living using the anarchists' press. But, at the 
same time, I realized that I knew nothing about it - about 
the printing business. So I was constantly looking for 
a job where I could get more experience. 

Teiser: Did you have a union card? 

Wilson: No. 

Teiser: The Pacific Music Press was a non-union shop? 

Wilson: That's right. I did go down to the union. They always 
said, "You can't get into the union unless you have a 
Job in a union shop." Then I would go to a union shop 
and they said, "You can't work here unless you're a member 
of the union." Finally one of the proprietors of one of 
the printing businesses was frank with me, and said it was 
crazy to even try. "You'd have to have decided when you 


Wilson: were fifteen years old that you wanted to be a printer 
and then you'd have to "know somebody 1 to get in." He 
said it was Just hopeless. Especially for someone like 
me with a college background. They didn't want anybody 
like that. It was tremendously discouraging. 

Teiser: If you could have gotten a Job, would you have served a 
full apprenticeship? 

Wilson: Yes, I think I would have. It was just literally impossible, 
though, and the whole mind set and background of people 
who were in the printing trade was antithetical to every 
thing I was interested in. It would always come up when 
I showed a few samples of the work I'd done. They said, 
"Oh my God, you're an art printer." (Laughter) As a 
result of that discouragement I decided maybe I should 
study architecture. 

When I was a boy I'd always drawn plans of houses 
which I would imagine. In fact I did so much of this 
that my mother decided I was some kind of architectural 
genius. When we were living in Northampton we sometimes 
went to Boston. One day she took me to the Harvard 
Architectural School, and asked to see Walter Gropiua 
so that she could show him my plans. (Laughter) Fortun 
ately, Gropius was occupied, but one of the other professors 


Wilson: came out and looked at my plans. I think I was eleven 
or twelve then. He said, "These are perfectly marvel 
ous but I don't know if they would work as buildings. 
There's one thing, Mrs. Wezel, never let anyone destroy 
this boy's creativity." This kept coming back to me, 
that the architecture field was something that I really 
had a feeling for and en joyed. Of all my high school 
courses IM enjoyed mechanical drawing the most. Further 
more, I understood I could get into the University of 
California without any tuition and they had a fine archi 
tecture school. So I decided to go over there and to 
support myself with printing in the evenings. It turned 
out that the architecture course was really a rigorous 
curriculum, which would take more than a full-time effort 
just to keep up with it. In the meantime I was doing 
more and more printing. 



Wilson: Aa my firat fall semester went on I had gotten one 

commission for a small book of poetry from a man named 
Hyman Swetzoff who was running the Gump's gallery. On 
some of the Grabhorn scrap paper I printed a business 
card and I took it around to a number of the decorator 
stores and fine shops, places like Rasper's, which was 
at the top of the contemporary furniture market. They 
gave me my first Job doing their business cards. Then 
I went to Gump's and met a charming gal there who was 

in the art department, named Alice Harth. I've since 
worked with her on several projects, notably The Spice 
Islands Cook Book. She introduced me to the head of 
the gallery at Gump's, a man named Hyman Swetzoff, who 
was from Boston. He wanted a book of his poems printed, 
So, I took that job on. At that point James Broughton 

had another book of poems and so I was working on these 


two things. 

Teiser: What was the Swetzoff book? 
Wilson: It's called ins / outs, and was set in Centaur type. 


Wilson: I had used it previously for a Merchant of Venice program 
and that brought me in contact with Mackenzie and Harris, 
the type founders. Carroll Harris 1 selection of types 
was a strong influence on me. Then Broughton came through 
with his Songs for Certain Children, which he wanted illus. 
trated with old cuts. It was set by Mackenzie and Harris 
in Arrighi, the italic of Centaur. I was working on these 
projects in the night-time and week-ends* 

Teiaer: Using the same anarchists' press? 

Wilsons Yes. There was no heat in the press, one light bulb, the 
press was without a motor, but I finally got a motor 
for it. 

Teiaer: What kind of press was it? 

Wilson: It waa an 8" x 12" Challenge-Gordon, a miniature version 
of what we had at Waldport. 

Teiser: And where was this shot) located? 

Wilsons At 1100 O'Parrell Street, where a palm tree still stands. 
The mansion is gone. It was in the tool shed of the man 
sion. For Brought on 1 s book, he wanted to use little old 
stock cuts. He knew of a printer named Jack Stauffaoher, 
who had just moved his press up from San Mateo. The 
Greenwood Press he called it. Jack was rumored to have 
a fine collection of old stock outs. He had published 


Wilson: a couple of books in San Mateo, mainly on his own en 
thusiasms, one of which is bicycle polo, which he hoped 
to introduce to America. (Laughter) One day Brought on 
and I went down to Jack's shop. 

Teiser: Where was it then? 



Wilson: It was then at 509 Sansome Street. It was a marvelous 

atmosphere and Jack and I immediately had a great rapport. 
Basically we were both interested in the same quality 
of printing. He had a partner at the time who simply 
wasn't interested in printing. Jack seemed to be chaf 
ing at the bit. Anyway, he lent me the cuts for the 
Broughton book. So James and I worked these out together 
with Pauline Kael, the film critic, who was James 1 girl 
friend at the time. The two flrf them would come over to 
the tool shed at night and we would stand there trying 
to keep our feet warm and put together these pages and 
print them, all on different colored construction papers. 

Meanwhile Joyce engaged her nursery school children 
in doing paintings for the covers. So each book had a 
different cover, a genuine child's painting. 

One of the big projects at the School of Architect 
ure, which I was still going to in the day, was that we 
had to draw up some building in San Francisco, some aspect 


Wilson: of a building. I picked what I realize now was about 

the greatest challenge in town, the gate at the Japanese 
Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. It had ten thousand 
separate pieces of wood. It had to be what was called, 
"a measured drawing," which meana you have to measure 
every aspect. So I went out there on Sunday and I meas 
ured all day, every piece in it, but still I wasn't half- 
finished. Evening came, it was late fall and getting 
terribly cold, and I was very discouraged with the pro 
ject. Who should come riding along on his bicyle but 
Jack Stauffacherl So we sat down and started to talk 
printing. Jack was saying how he didn't like his partner. 
He said, "What I need is somebody like you around the 
place, somebody that is really interested in printing." 
I said I was still going to architecture school and I 
couldn't do that. Still, I said, it might be a good 
idea. So Jack said, "Think about it." So I thought 
about it some more and I finally decided that I really 
loved printing, and that architecture was far too remote 
and difficult a profession to try to et into at this 
point in my life. Furthermore printing had the marvel 
ous aspect of being able to get an immediate result 


Wilson: which was saleable. Whereas architecture was a tre 
mendous strain, with thousands of little intermediate 
steps. Jack and I talked some more and I agreed. He 
had gotten a book commission or two and we agreed that 
I would go to work for him at $50 a week. 
v Things went very well those first few months. We 
started on another project of our own, which was the 
Eric Gill essay And Who Wants Peace?, which we did in 
a monumental folio on hand-made paper. It was in homage 
to our patron saint of typography at that moment, Eric 
Gill, and also a testimony of our interest in pacifism 
and our anti-war feelings. Mary Pabilli did a linoleum 
cut for it. We sold that at $5 a copy, and they went 

Teiser: What year was that? 

Wilson: This was 1948. I've described pretty well what the at- 

mospher of the Greenwood Press was in A Portfolio of Book 
Club Printers. One of the books we did turned out quite 
well. When we sent it into the A.I.G.A.* for their Fifty 
Books of the Year competition, it was selected. 

Teiser: Which was that. 

American Institute of Graphic Arts 


Wilson: That was called Mining and Hunting in the Far West. 
published by William P. Wreden. 

Teiser: What year was this? 

Wilson: This was 1948. 

Teiser: I can ask you here or later about the A.I.G.A. I under 
stand that one of the difficulties of the competition 
is that you have to furnish the committee with a great 
number of books. 

Wilson: It was five copies. 

Teiser: Only five? 

Wilson: Yes, plus a hanging fee, which often seems enough to hang 
the printers. (Laughter) It's, I think, a $25 hanging 
fee. But it has discouraged a lot of West Coast printers 
from submitting because if they're doing limited editions 
of books, say, that are selling at $100 apiece the minute 
they're issued, it's a large piece of change to simply 
pass out. The amount of money might well be put into 
the book itself. 

Teiser: Yes. 

Wilson: Jack's problems at that time were not artistic but strict 
ly of a business nature. He had no more experience with 
business than I had. As December came on we realized 


Wilson: that we weren't making any money, in fact, my salary had 
been reduced to $25 a week. Jack was making less. I 
remember his method of bookkeeping was to go down to 
the bank and inquire how much he had and then he would 
take it all out up to the point of Si, so he had Si left 
in his account. He would give me S25 and the rest he 
would take for himself, which was probably $18.50. (Laughter) 

Then, somebody told us that there was such a thing 
as income tax, which we'd never heard of before. I said 
to Jack, "I suppose we have to give some kind of records." 
He said, "I don't keep any records." I said, "We'd better 
find somebody who can tell us about this." I think through 
another printer I had heard of somebody who was a print 
ing accountant, he specialized in that. Or it WPS prob 
ably an ad in the Pacific Printer magazine. This man's 
name was Ralph Gilkerson. Gilkerson and Staff, he called 
himself. He came out--he was an incredible character. 
When he saw how we operated, he practically collapsed. 
(Laughter) We didn't have a record, an invoice, a sales 
tag, sales tax receipts, or anything. Then he said, 
"You'll have to pay the income tax. You haven't had 
withholding tax?" So this whole grim reality of 


Wilson: the business world suddenly swept in on us. Jack was 
practically bankrupt and I was too. Then there were 
no more jobs. I went around from office building to 
office building trying to find somebody who would give 
us a job of some kind r even city jobs. We bid on the 
dog bite forms. (Laughter) 

At that point, Joyce and I my parents had been 
rather disturbed about our marriage because it involved 
divorce we finally decided that things had smoothed 
out enough so that we could go East. So we took a trip 
to the East. During that period I decided to call on 
a few printers in New York. 

Teiser: What year was this? 

Wilson: This was the end of 1948, say December. One of the print- 
ers I called on was Joseph Blumenthal, one of the best 
New York printers. In the course of conversation he 
mentioned to me that the old Merrymount Press was in 
the process of closing down its doors forever. Ut>dike 
had died not too long before. They were selling out 
their stock, their equipment. He advised me to go up to 
Boston and see what I could pick up. 

Not having any money at all I asked my father if 
he could lend me something. He gave me $50 or so in a 


Wilson: money belt. I went up to the Merrymonnt Press and John 
Bianchi thought that I was a millionaire who'd come from 
California and was ready to buy his whole place. He 
spent the better part of the day showing me his complete 

library, which has since gone to the Huntington f(0 his 
great stock of types, which I wish I could have afforded 
now. (Laughter) He had tons of paper, very fine oaners, 
as well as the hand-made paper that they had left over 
from about forty years of operation. So I inquired about 
a ream of this and ten sheets of that, (Laughter) Ne 
gotiations developed and he agreed to sell me all their 
hand-made paper for $50, 

Teiser: My word! By this time you had had enough experience 
so that you knew how to buy paper? 

Wilson: Yes, that's right, just through practical negotiations 
in a business way. But there were lots of things we 
still didn't "bwy, (Laughter) I had all that paper 
transported to San Francisco, a stack perhaps five feet 
high. We shipped it all to the Greenwood Press and Jack 

and I printed various books on that for quite a few years 
afterwards, small editions. 
Teiser: What were some of them? 


Wilson: Jack did a very nice book of Fifteen Letters of Goethe. 

I did a little book of poems by Glen Cof field, illustrated 
by Lee Mullican, the painter. I printed it at night 
at the Greenwood Press. 

Teiser: As a project of your own? 

Wilson: Yes, as a project of my own. Then the Centaur Press, 

which had been started by James Broughton and Kermit Sheets, 
agreed to distribute it. 

By that point Jack and I had had to part company 
during the day. It was a very black period. 

Teiser: What were you doing during the day? 

Wilson: During the day I was hunting for a job and I simply could 
n't find a job. Finally one of the engravers who had 
made some cuts for me told me I could be a salesman for 
him. He was a rough, burly fellow and he said, "The way 
you go out and sell engravings, see, you stand in front 
of Walter Mann's engraving shop and you wait until he 
comes out and then you see where he goes. Then when you 
get to the building you try to follow him without him 
seeing you. When he gets to the office and goes in, then 
you know that a hot job is cooking." (Laughter) "Then 
after he leaves, you go in and you underbid him, see." 

Wilson: (Laughter) He'd underbid anybody. I din't have much 

luck following Walter Mann around. But I did have amazing 
luck in selling outs to various magazines because this 
man's prices were 50$ less than anybody else's. 

Teiser: Do you want to name him? 

Wilson: His name is John Kowalsky. I don't know if he's in busi 
ness any more. After three weeks I decided I was not 
an engraving salesman. 

I finally picked up a job at something called the 
Phoenix Press, which was at 300 Broadway, on the top 
floor. Its specialty was correcting mistakes in can 
labels that large lithography houses had made. They 
would set up block-out forms, blocking out the word 
that was wrong and reprinting it. 

Teiser: Weren't they sometimes simply changes? 

Wilson: Yes, that's right, especially for olive sizes, which 
began at "Giant" and ended at "Super Colossal." 

Teiser: I knew the name of that man, who was he? 

Wilson: His name was Tom Anderson. That's the reason I was in 
terested in the place, because he had had a magazine 
called San Francisco Life, which he hoped to revive. 
It was the lowest form of work imaginable. It was at 


Wilson: that point fortunately, that The Interplayers found 
the building at Hyde and Beach Streets. 


Wilson: When we got the building at Hyde and Beach Streets 

and we had a concrete floor in place, it was obvious 
that it would supnort a printing press. So we placed 
one in the lobby of the theater. I bought it from Kownl- 
sky, a small platen, with money borrowed from my parents, 

Teiser: What was it? 

Wilson: It was another 8" x 12" Challenge-Gordon. It WRS the 
cheapest I could get. But I soon traded it to a man 
named Leo Holub for a 10" x 15" Colt's Armory, which wns 
a much better press. This particular one was highly de 
fective, but it still did very good work. (Laughter) 

When I started there at printing, immediately the 
Interplayers programs that I did brought in some work. 
Then the Buena Vista Cafe across the street waa just un 
dergoing its metamorphosis from a quiet place where the 
cable car gripmen went in to have a bowl of clam chowder, 
The new proprietor, Jack Koeppler, decided to put in a 


Wilson: large bar and a beer list. So he asked me to do a list 
of the beers, which I set in a new type I'd gotten from 
Amsterdam, the Libra. This made a spectacular success. 
People went to the Buena Vista, then they would come over 
to my print shop to order printing. Pretty soon I was 
doing half my jobs in Libra type. (Laughter) 

About the same time I had a few book coraissions. 
One of them was another book from Swetzoff, who by then 
had gone back to Boston. One of his compatriots there, 
a man named George Anthony, had written a long poem called 
The Scholar Dunce and Swetzoff wanted something in the 
nature of a lush art printing. I decided to use some 
of the different hand-made papers from the Merrymount 
Press. So they eventually returned to Boston, between 
the covers of that book. 

Teiser: What was your first experience using the lithographer? 

Wilson: That first Compass cover I mentioned was my very first 
experience. Then when I was with the Phoenix Press a 
few people who had known about me through the theater 
programs and at the Greenwood Press, followed me to the 
Phoenix Press. One of these was a very wealthy gal who 
was the wife of the heir of the Gantner Knitting Mills. 
She had just gone through a very sad divorce situation. 


Wilson: She was an Australian girl, named Neilma. 

Teiser: She was married to Vallejo Oantner? 

Wilson: Yes. She had written a book which was really intended 
to assure her parents in Australia that everything was 
all right and that she was enjoying life and so on. It 
was called The Story of the Wayfarer and the Seafarer. 
The Wayfarer was the new Dodge convertible she had. And 
the Seafarer was a young handsome blonde man who was a 
sailor or something; or maybe she was the seafarer, I've 
forgotten. (Laughter) But the young man was intimately 
involved in her well-being. She wanted this done as a 
Christmas book. He had done some drawings for it. It 
was obvious that the drawings would have to be reproduced 
by lithography. At that time the best lithographer I 
knew about was Wallace Kibbee and Son. I realized that 
the son known as Wallie had done quite a bit of designing 
and I was always very impressed with the clean modernity 
of his style. It seemed to me strange that the senior 
Wallace, who was the brother of Guy Kibbee, the film actor, 
and a marvelous character himself, should be associated 
with what at the time was the most avant garde commercial 
printing being done in San Francisco. I told Anderson 
they should do Mrs. Gantner'a book. 


Teiser: Was that when they were on California Street? 
Wilaon: Yes. Since the Phoenix Press couldn't do any offset 

work (and Charles Wood wasn't located there yet), Ander- 

it to 
son let me take,, Wallace Kibbee for the Phoenix Press. 

We had our difficulties with that, because the job was 
being handled through the Phoenix Press and billed by 
the Phoenix Press, but sub-contracted to Wallace. Mrs. 
Gantner had given her down payment to Anderson, and An 
derson refused to pay anything in advance to Kibbee and 
kept the funds. (Laughter) In the meantime Mrs. Gantner 
was chewing her fingernails to get the book out in time 
for Christmas to give as a present to her family in Aus 
tralia. I was caught in the middle. I tried to convince 
Anderson that he had to be honest and release the money. 
But he simply didn't have it. He was having hard times. 
I remember one fateful day when the mail arrived at the 
Phoenix Press. Some of it looked like checks. I Just 
put it up to Anderson that he had to give me the money, 
otherwise the whole job was down the drain nothing could 
begin. So he painfully opened one envelope after another 
and pulled out the checks. Finally one last little check 

came in for about $15. That made the total amount, and 
he agreed to release it to Kibbee. So we cleared it up 



Wilson: (Laughter) Wallace Kibbee, during all of this period, 
was terribly strict, refusing to begin until paid, but 
still very warm-hearted, a marvelous example. 

Teiser: You're speaking of Wallace, Sr. 

Wilson: Yes. He was a man of integrity who handled his business 
properly and with dignity. So, he turned out the job, 
and extremely well. We mixed a special sea blue ink. 

Mrs. Gantner was just delighted with it. Then she flew 
down a planeload of these books to Australia on B.O.A.C. 
in time for Christmas. (Laughter) So that was ray pre 
vious experience with lithography, which I used again in 
The Coppa Murals by Warren Unna. 

The commission for which I bought the Kelly B, 
Cylinder Press was The Coppa Murala, This was my first 
commission from the Book Club of California. As soon 
as I was established there at Hyde and Beach I had this 
book to do which fitted in very nicely with my own inter 
ests restaurants and the bohemian life of San Francisco. 

Teiser: Did that have illustrations in several colors? 

Wilson: No, it had black-and-white half-tones of the old photo 
graphs of the murals in the restaurant. I was looking 
for a lithographer with a large press to print the photo- 


Wilson: graphs and I heard of Charles R. Wood. He had just set 

up shop at 300 Broadway and that was ray first association 
with him. We've worked together on many Jobs since. 

I think it was Joseph Henry Jackson's influence that 
gave me the first Book Club commission. I would say that 
happened as a result of the first little book, the Pour 
Ghost Stories by Sara Gerstle, that I printed at Hyde 
and Beach Streets. Also, Joseph Henry Jackson edited 
the Book Club's Wine Keepsake series, about old Cali 
fornia wineries, which he continued right up to the time 
he died. He had been a very good supporter and man to 
work with. It's, of course, unfortunate that we don't 
have anyone today who is a publicist who is really inter 
ested in fine printing. James D. Hart took over then, 
and we have had many happy associations and collaborations, 
notably My First Publication and Robert Lewis Stevenson's 
San Francisco, edited by him for the Book Club of Cali 

Teiser: You mentioned that you bought the Kelly B. Cylinder Press 
to do The Coppa Murals. 

Wilson: Yes. I'd heard that there was a Kelly press available 

and I knew of the Kelly as a good press to have, because 


Wilson: that was the one that was used at the Pacific Music 
Press. All I'd done there was oil it every morning. 
But it seemed to do decent work. The book I designed 
for the Book Club with the large photographs was far 
too big for my Colt's Armory press. So therefore I 
decided to buy a Kelly. I thought I would teach my 
self how to run it. But once we got it installed at 
the theater at Hyde and Beaoh Streets, it seemed to be 
just a little too much. (Laughter) Now how was I go 
ing to find out how to run this monster? In the mean 
time I'd heard of Lawton Kennedy. In fact I'd been 
over to the Westgate Press once, looking for a job. 
At that time, though, I'd only talked to his brother 
Alfred Kennedy, who I thought was the proprietor of the 
place. Then as I inquired about how to learn to run a 
Kelly everyone said to go see Lawton Kennedy. So fin 
ally I went over to Oakland one day with Joyce, and 
Lawton came up from the back of the shop where he WHS 
working on a Miehle vertical and said, "Sure, I can come 
over and help you." And Preda (Kennedy) then appeared 
and she said, "We'd love to come over." And the two 
of them did and we had several sessions in which he showed 


Wilson: me how to bring this monster to heel. 

But then of course, with all the odd hand -made 
papers I was trying to use, and strange formats and 
so on, the press would constantly be balking. I'd 
call Lawton up to ask him what could be wrong. (Laughter) 
He'd doctor it over the telephone. 

Our theater was proving quite successful. We'd 
had a fine production of Phoenix Too Frequent, which 
Joyce had directed. It was a tremendous success. Then 
one afternoon, when we were all doing Well of the Saints 
by Synge, suddenly the fire department appeared. They 
said, "You can't have a theater here. The place isn't 
a Class A building. You'll have to close up." We said, 
"But we have an audience coming tonight. The tickets 
are all sold." One of the firemen said, "I'm a member 
of the Dolphin Rowing Club down there," indicating a 
wooden building on the waterfront. "You could rent that 
for tonight if you want." That wasn't Class A either, 
but most of the members were policemen and firemen. 
(Laughter) So we moved all the sets and costumes down 
there and directed the audience down there too. Prom 
that point on our theater was simply closed. We started 


Wilson: investigating how we could get it cleared and open again. 
We appealed to all kinds of politicians, lawyers, art 
commissioners, society matrons, perennial sponsors, and 
so on, but no one knew how to get the theater open. 
So we finally decided to make a plan for rebuilding it 
as a Class A building. We would get some estimates 
from contractors and see if we could get the money to 
do that. 

One of the first contractors we called in was a 
man whose name can now be revealed as Charles Spivock 
of the Empire Construction Company. He took a look 
around the building and he said, "But this building is 
perfectly safe. There's simply nothing wrong with it. 
It doesn't meet the code but there's no reason why it's 
not perfectly feasible to have performances here. I 
don't know why they're giving you such a bad time." 
We said, "They say it's not Class A, it has to be steel 
and concrete." He said, "The way to clear this is to 
go through the Board of Permit Appeals, the way most 
things are done in San Francisco. You make up plans 
for some minimum alteration. When those are turned 
down by the Building Inspection Department because it 
isn't Class A, then take it to the Board of Permit Appeals, 


Wilson: We'll see that it gets through there." As it turned 
out, when the day of the hearings came ur>, only four 
of the five members of the board showed up. Two were 
against and two voted for, a tie, which means no. Sni- 
vock said, "That's all right, I'll have lunch with 
the fire commissioner tomorrow. You can open up." 
(Laughter) He did and it was cleared. After that, 
anyone could have a theater in San Francisco. 

The rumor had been that Homer Curran, who ran the 
Curran and Geary Theaters, had purposely had the Class 
A section of the city code written in, so that only 
the Geary, Curran and Alcazar would pass and other thea 
ters would be kept out. How true this is I don't know. 
Whether Louis Lurie had a part in this policy I don't 
know. But in any case, ever since then no one has bother- 
ed the theaters that came after we did. 

Teiser: Has this worked to the benefit of others? 

Wilson: Yes, then it became possible for the Actor's Workshop 
to set up, first above the Judo Academy on Divisidero 
Street, which was totally illegal, being on the second 
floor, and then at the Elgin Street Theater, which Inter 
had to be torn down to make way for the freeway. 

Teiser: But it did break this impasse? 


Wilson: Yes, it cracked an impossible barrier. So then we 

were open again and we had a few very successful pro 
ductions. Everything seemed to be going so beautifully, 
in fact, so successfully that we were making a lot of 
money. We even had several thousand dollars in the 
bank. We had a man who was the treasurer at the time, 
who had also come up from the Hedgerow Theater, named 
Roy Franklyn. He was a strange character. He was 
quite an attractive guy and really dedicated to the 
theater. But he had a complex that he was the king 
of creation. At one point he felt that he had enough 
support within the group so that he could take over as 
the sole director. This first took the form of a direct 
attack on Joyce and of her acting in a certain role, 
in La Parisienne, which had been a very successful play. 
Most of us thought it was beautifully done, but it could 
not meet what he considered the serious standards of 
the Hedgerow Theater. So, as a result of this, Franklyn 
said that he was either taking over as sole manager- 
director with complete choice of plays, actors, personnel, 
and so on, or the theater would close. So we had a 
new manager. He simply held out with his faction, which 
was just exactly an even split - a split exactly down 


Wilson: the middle of the group. The rest of us felt that 
it was a cooperative theater, that it should always 
be run by a group, a committee, a board of directors. 
The problem was that Franklyn had a number of his friends 
living in the upstairs part of the theater. Furthermore, 
he withdrew all the funds from the bank and deposited 
them elsewhere - no one but he knew where. 

So the whole situation got very uncomfortable there 
and finally it was resolved by a split. One faction 
would keep the name and the other would keep the build 
ing. The treasury was divided in half. Somehow or 
other by this time Joyce and I and a few others had 
felt that we had a kind of investment in the name of 
Interplayers. We felt that that had a reputation and 
that was the important thing. So we left the building 
and they could take over and call themselves the Play 
house, However we soon realized that people only 
associated the theater with the building where these 
things were done. In any case this meant that I had 
to move my printing works, too. 



Teiser: This was in 1952? 

Wilson: Yes. And at the same time I heard that Wallace Kibbee 
was planning to close up on California Street and move 
down to Front Street, and Lawton was going to be there. 
I talked to both of them about it. And they said, "There's 
some empty space there on the floor. If you want to, 
you can set up here." It was understood that I would 
take over the rest of Kibbee 's equipment. He was sell 
ing off most of his equipment and I would buy what was 

Teiser: Was that when Wally Kibbee (the son) went over to Sau- 

Wilson: I think it was just before that. Wally hadn't set up 

in the greeting card business in Sausalito, but I think 
the Kibbees had that in mind as a long range plan. 

As it worked out then it was a very nice arrange 
ment. Not only did I have Wallace's aunport and tyr>e 
and all his background, of course, but Lawton was next 
door. He was constantly helpful and he was always on 


Wilson: hand when I ran into trouble with the Kelly press. 
(Laughter) It was a very nice situation there for 
a couple of years. 

Teiser: You were then your own compositor and pressman, both? 

Wilson: Yes. I even had to ,1oin the International Typographical 
Union, since I was working ao closely with other union 
printers. No questions about my never having completed 
a six-year apprenticeship were asked. But the problems 
started to come up when Wallace found the business was 
too taxing. He was reaching the age of retirement. So 
he decided to sell his business to his brother, Roy. 
Roy was a very different sort of person. He was a gay 
bon vivant, but not terribly interested in the business. 
He liked to play golf and so on. 

He took over what at the time was a very good busi 
ness. The agreement was that he could use my type, in 
cluding the type I was buying from Wallace at that time. 
Wallace gradually passed out of the picture and Roy was 
in. We always got along very well. He was a capable 
printer but he didn't have much idealism, or the dignity 
that Wallace brought to his profession. 

Roy really had been a compositor, or a typographer. 
In other words he had an advertising typography background 


Wilson: But for one reason or another he was always running 

into trouble and switched from one situation to another. 
He also had been superintendent of the composing room 
at H. S. Crocker when it was a letterpress. We got 
along very well, but then as things developed Roy brought 
in a friend of his named Prank Shea. He was also a 
compositor. The agreement was that Prank would set 
all of Roy's type - Roy's jobs - using my type, with 
the understanding that he would distribute it. 

I was never terribly good at keeping up my own 
distribution* Prank Just wouldn't distribute at all* 
He would only set the type. Roy was the same way, when 
ever distribution came up he was out nlaying golf. 
(Laughter) Furthermore I was teaching classes in tyno- 
graphy for the California School of Pine Arts in my 
shop. The students learned to set type very fast, but 
they always put it in the wrong boxes when they tried 
to distribute. Half of my type was tied up in their 
projects. So gradually the shop began to go downhill 
and there seemed to be no way to turn it back. 

A whole other aspect had developed there. I had 
started designing books in about 1950 when I was still 
at Hyde and Beach Streets for the University of California 


Wilson: Press. This all developed because of H. Richard Archer, 
who was, at the time, secretary of the Rounce and Coffin 
Club in Los Angeles, He wrote me a note saying that 
he had been talking to August Fruge who was taking over 
after the death of Sam Parquhar as head of the Univer 
sity of California Press. Fruge intended to use out 
side designers rather than A. H. Tommasini who had al 
ways collaborated with Farquhar. Therefore he might 
need my design services. I hadn't actually done any 
book designing before, except what was done in terms 
of rough printers layout and so on. 

I went over and saw Fruge and he liked the books 
I'd done and agreed that he would give me a commission 
or two. At that point I recalled my mechanical drawing 
and architectural experience and I had seen enough lay 
outs especially Ward Ritchie's and A. R. Tommasini 's 
for the Press-- so that I could do them easily enough. 
So suddenly I was designing books on paper. The first 
book I designed I actually set in tvr>e. The headings 
and sample pages I would trace off and incorporate those 
in the layouts. So they were typographically based 
books. But as my own skill developed it wasn't necessary 
any more to set type, just an occasional specimen. 


Teiser: You had it in your mind. 

Wilson: Yes. That brings up another aspect, which is the in 
fluence of the University of California Press. Even 
during the period when I was going to architecture school 
at the University, I had been told by Everson, who had 
been working as a janitor at the Press, of the marvel 
ous library they had there. When he finished sweeping 
the floors he would go up and study in the library. 
This switched his whole career into doing things on 
hand-made papers, the acme of perfection in press work, 

Teiser: How did he happen to be working as a Janitor? 

Wilson: (laughter) It was the only job he could get. He was 
lucky to get it. 

Teiaer: He, too, had not come up through a printing apprentice 


Wilson: No. But he found his job at the University Press ex 
tremely helpful because he could get tips and advice 
from the people in the press room, to use on his own 
hand press which he had moved into Mary Fabilli's house. 
At that time (1948) Everson was starting books like 
the Privacy of Speech and Tryptich for the Living, using 
Mary's marvelous fine-line linoleum cuts. We were in 
constant contact. Every week we would see each other 


Wilson: in one way or another at dinner parties. This was all 
very interesting, Everson got a Guggenheim Fellowship 
then on the basis of his poetry. He was printing and 
I was printing. It seemed like there was a tremendous 
flowering here of all these things coming together. 
I would go up to the library at the University Press 
and browse and study myself. Then, of course, there 
was also the Rare Book Room of the Main Library of the 
University in Berkeley. I visited it once in a while. 
I saw books like the Kelmscott Chaucer and my first 
Ashenden Bible and some of those tomes of the private 
press movement. So that it was a period of awakening. 


Wilson: As I continued to do designs for Frugfe at the Univers 
ity Press he gradually got interested in having me 
come over there as a resident book designer. It was 
at the time when I couldn't see the light any more in 
the Front Street situation. So one day Fruge called 
and asked if I'd care to come over and discuss being 
a designer for the Press. I thought this would be a 
tremendous learning experience, really: this whole 
question of how to deal with large organizations when 
you don't have any personal contact with the people 
that are doing the work. You have to plan everything 
in advance. In the Press itself you were up against 
all kinds of personalities, like A. R. Tommasini, from 
whom I had already learned much. In fact this would 
be rather different from a one man situation. 

The other thing that bothered me at Front Street 
was that despite the fact that I was doing more and 
more commercial work, I wasn't doing any books. No 
commissions seemed to come in for anything worth 


Wilson: considering. So that was another motive in goinp to 

Berkeley. At least I would be dealing with about fifty 
or sixty books a year. 

So I decided at that point to give it a try. I 
went over. I thought at first that it would be rather 
stimulating but it turned out that there were so many 
internal politics a great feud that was going on be 
tween John Goetz, who was the production manager, and 
the art editor who also did a lot of designs, Rita 
Carroll. I was suddenly caught up in taking a side 
in this feud. I'd had great respect for Goetz and I 
only could support him in hia situation there. So 
this immediately put Mrs. Carroll and her cohorts in 
opposition. It was a very unpleasant situation because 
Fruge was very partial to Rita for her ability to con 
vey what she thought should be done there at the Press. 
Goetz was the one who really bollixed everything, they 

Teiser: He was brought in from the East, wasn't he? 

Wilson: Yes, he came from New York. He was a very capable man. 
Then one day when this feud was just at its height the 
telephone rang and it was obvious from the conversation 
that it was the head of the University of Chicago Press 


Wilson: and he was offering John a Job as consultant in th 
production department there. He took it. 

At the same time Jack Stauffacher had gone off 
to Europe on a Fulbright fellowship as a result of 
his Janson book. I thought that would be a pleasant 
thing to do. (Laughter) So I decided to apply. I 
applied for the Gutenberg Institute in Mainz, which 
was a university and which I thought, therefore, would 
be accredited by the Pulbright commission. Furthermore, 
the great German type designer, Hermann Zapf, had visit 
ed here for the first time. I had found out when he 
was coming and met him at the airport, and we had a 
very nice rapport. He was quite enthusiastic about 
this idea of mine, of coming to Mainz, which was close 
to Frankfurt where he lives. He thought this would 
work out. But at the last minute it turned out that 
the Gutenberg Institute wasn't really an accredited 
institution and so I was turned down. Fortunately we 
were able to manage to go on our own. By this time 
I had decided to leave the University Press at the same 
tim Goetz left. 

That's the amazing thing about all these peonle, 
how they survive and weather all these storms. At 


Wilson: first the thing that disappointed me, of course, was 

that FrugA's interest really wasn't in "fine" printing. 
His interest was more in a broad range of scholarly 
publishing, which I think now is as it should be. De 
sign was very important to him, but the physical -prop 
erties of the books he was willing to keep at the level 
of the better trade oublisher. Eventually all the books 

were produced in large eastern book manufacturing plants, 


chosen on the basis of the lowest, three bids, as re 
quired by the state. It was only on special editions 
that we could afford to use the University's own print 
ing plant or the type which Frederic Goudy had specially 
designed for it, the University of California Old Style 
(now known as Calif ornian). 

But there were some books produced in the Univers 
ity of California Printing Department in which we all 
took satisfaction, particularly the three monographs 
on modern painters written by Frederick S. Wight. These 
included one on my old acquaintance Morris Graves, an 
other on the abstract expressionist Hans Hofmann, and 
one on Arthur B. Dove. Thanks to the excellent press- 
work of the Printing Department, the engravings which 
came from many sources were reproduced extremely well. 


Wilson: It was tremendously exciting to follow these books 

through each step from the design through the order 
ing of type, plates and paper to the binding. 

And the paperback series which Fruge 1 started at 
that time had its challenges. They were mostly re 
prints of books in the Press list, but some were orig 
inals, like Miriam Lindstrom's Children's Art, a great 
delight to work on. I continue to design for the Press 
usually books which are in line with my special inter 
ests, like music and the theatre. In the works cur 
rently are The Mark Twain Papers in at least twenty- 
seven volumes, a collaboration between the Press and 
Harper & Row. 

Another association with the University I should 
mention: my teaching of The Development of the Book 
course for the School of Librarianship in 1963. This 
was a marvelous chance to get back to the Rare Book 
Room, but the one hundred students who enrolled didn't 
give me much time for casual browsing. Their enthus 
iasm and desire to work was tremendously encouraging. 
Unfortunately I had to give up the repeat of the course 
in the spring of 1964 to have an open heart operation 
for the replacement of my aortic valve. 


Teiser: Do I remember that you didn't finish Printing for Theater 
until you were in Berkeley? Was there some overlap 

Wilson: Yes. Toward the end of the Front Street period I'd 

started on Printing for Theater. I put out the announce 
ments. I had a whole flock of orders, but the commer 
cial work was taking so much time that I hardly had 
any time for the theater book. It was only when the 
University Press situation developed that I could do 
Printing for Theater at ni^ht. I finished it ten months 
after I went to Berkeley. 




'Joiner: So far as your trip to Europe in 1958 is concerned, 
what was its effect upon you as a printer? 

Wilson i Even though the grant hadn't oome through to study at 
Mainz, I just decided to go there and see what it was 
like. So we started in Holland where I still had many 
relatives . Then I went to Germany with another typo- 
graphic notable who had visited here once, Willem Ovink, 
who is the art director of the Amsterdam Type Foundry, 
the maker of the Libra type. He 1 a one of the marvelous 
people you meet in Europe who are vitally interested 
in typography but have a tremendoua background in all 
the arts - extremely literate and capable of approaching 
any field with great knowledge. So we went into Ger 
many with him and eventually found our way to Frankfurt 
and Mainz. When we got to Mainz we were very glad we 
were not committed to staying a year there. It had 
been badly bombed and was very depressing. We continued 
our typographic tour down through Switzerland and visited 
Imre Reiner whose books have always been very exciting 
to me. I remember days at the Greenwood Press when 


Wilson: Jack and I used to spend every lunch hour discussing 

what we thought of Reiner s specimens, his types. Reiner 
was very cordial. We visited at Lugano with him and 
then Mardersteig and his Offioina Bodoni in Verona. 
Then we went back up through Prance. 

By this time we had a daughter, Melissa, an adopted 
child. We'd lost a baby in 1951, ao we decided to 
adopt one. Melisaa, by this time, was nine years old 
and had to go to school. It appeared that perhaps 
the best place for her to go to school was in England. 
I had much correspondence while I was at Berkeley with 
the Cambridge University Press, in particular with John 
Dreyfus who is the typographic adviser to the press. 
They printed several books for the University of Cali 
fornia during the period I was there. So we headed 
up to Cambridge. We found a very warm reception, oarticu- 
larly since John's main other interest besides typo 
graphy is the theater. Also the director of the press, 
Brooke Crutchley, was extremely cordial. So we decided 
to spend the winter and spring in Cambridge. It worked 
out at a very good period. It was just when the Univers 
ity Press was beginning to work on the New English Bible. 
Suddenly one day this appeared on the desk that they'd 


Wilson: set up for me I was working completely voluntarily, able 

to come and go as I wanted, just to assist in some of these 
special projects. 

Teiser: You donated your services? 

Wilson: Yes. We found a little thatched-roof cottage out in the 
village of Swaffham Bulbeck, which was ideal at first, 
until it came out that Joyce had to spend all her days 
just keeping the coal fires going. (Laughter) So I 
worked on that Bible. I simply did revisions on sample 
pages that had already been approved. 

Then, John Dreyfus had given a paper before the 
Double Crown Club on Bruce Rogers which the press was 
printing as a keepsake for the American Branch. This 
interested me tremendously because the direction I was 
going seemed rather parallel to Bruce Rogers' career. 
He had been typographical advisor to the Press in 1Q17. 
I'd met Rogers in the East, perhaps in 1954. My brother's 
mother-in-law is a fine bookbinder and she'd arranged 
the meeting. 

Teiser: Who is she? 

Wilson: Her name is Inez Pennybacker. She does fine bindings in 
leather for libraries in the East. And she'd arranged 


Wilson: a delightful picnic at Bruce Rogers' place in New Pair- 
field, Connecticut. This was less than a year before 
he died. His whole manner and approach continuing to 
work on quite marvelous books even at the time he was 
84--was a tremendous inspiration. So I worked on the 

Bruce ^ogera book which Dreyfus had written, Bruce Rogers 

&_ Dr 
and American Typography it was called; and also on thi 

project of analyzing early type specimens. With the aid 
of a high-powered microscope and endless hours of re 
search into old type specimens we were able to identify 
the sources of many of the types that Plantin used--things 
right from the very beginning of printing. This was put 
out after I left the press. It really was orginally a 
Stanley Morison project. He wrote the introduction to 
this and got it started many years before, but Dreyfus 
carried it on. 

Teiser: What is the title of this? 

Wilson: Type Specimens Facsimiles. This, of course, put me in 
touch with Morison and Beatrice Warde and H arry Carter 
and some of the other notables of the English printing 
world. Once again, extremely scholarly, literate, brilliant 
people. Also, the director of the Oxford University Press, 
Vivian Ridler, who is a charming man with perhaps a more 


Wilaon: contemporary view of things. There's a difference, 

of course, between type scholars and those who are try 
ing to push the frontiers, which I feel Ridler is, with 
in the strict limits of the Oxford University Preas, 

Also, at the Cambridge University Press was a genu 
ine type designer, John Peters, who had designed a couple 
of types, Petrus and Castellar, which Mackenzie & Harris 
has recently imported here. So I really had a chance 
to see how a type designer goes about developing his 
designs and rendering them and then criticizing them once 
they are cut and adapting them to other sizes. I did 
get a pretty thorough acquaintance with contemporary pro 
cedures for type designing. 

Teiser: How many months were you there? 

Wilson: I was there for the better part of six months. 

At the same time, a few days a week I would go out 
to the workshop of David Kindersley, who had been Eric 
Gill's partner in his stone cutting business-monumental 
inscriptions, primarily in slate. Also there was Will 
Carter and his wonderful family in Cambridge also stone 
cutting, and excellent printing. Will let me use his ->ress 
to print our Swaffham Bulbeck letterheads. 

Teiser: You mentioned this in the Book Club Quarterly article that 


Teiaer: you wrote on your travels didn't you?* 

Wilson: Yes. So thia gave a whole other dimension to the world 
of letters. Of course, there was also the theater world 
which we partook of in London on week-ends. 

* Quarterly News Letter Summer 1959. Reprinted in 

expanded form in Book Design and Production (England), 
vol. 2, no. 3 and 4, 1959; vol. 3, no. 1, I960. 



Wilson: When I came back, instead of going back into the job nrint- 
ing business, which I'd really intended or to the Univers 
ity Press, I decided to set un the studio here at Tuscany 
Alley and specialize in book design and not to accept 
any commerical job printing work. It had just been too 
apparent during the Front Street period that you could 
be completely swamped with this. At least, ,1 could, 
(Laughter) and never do anything that I thought was signif 
icant or very lasting. This seemed to work out quite well*. 
the present situation being that I do designs for publish 
ers in many places. But so much depends on the interpre 
tation or adhering to specifications, which is the pro 
ductions manager's responsibility. 

One other nice thing developed while I was at Cam 
bridge. The Printing for Theater book had gotten into 
the A.I.G.A. Fifty Books of the Year. In the course of 
its being covered by Publisher's Weekly magazine they ask 
ed David Glixon, who is one of the functionaries of the 
Limited Editions Club (he does most of the editorial work 


Wilson: on the books organizing the manuscripts for the printer ) 
to review the show. He was wildly enthusiastic about 
Printing for Theater. So I wrote him a letter of thanks 
for his kind words and he wrote back and said that h 
hoped that I might stop in at the offices sometime. We 
did as we went through New York on our way to Europe. They 
said they hoped some day I would have some commissions 
with the Limited Editions Club. I hadn't realized when 
I got to Cambridge that John Dreyfus was the European ad 
visor for Limited Editions. One time John went off to 
Paris and a few days later a wire arrived at our little 
cottage in Swaffham Bulbeck saying, "Would you please 
come to Paris and discuss with us the design of some books 
for the Limited Editions Club?" This was from Helen Macy, 
the head of the company and widow of George Macy, its 
founder, a charming woman. So that's how my association 
with them began, with the conference in Paris, and I was 
commissioned to work with an illustrator there on Joseph 
Conrad's Nostromo. 

Furthermore I was asked to design Tristan and Iseult. 
for which the illustrations had already been done. This 
book was eventually printed by Clarke ft Way in New York, 
but Nostromo we managed to have done in San Francisco by 

Adrian Wilson with his daughter Melissa 
and Haywood H. Hunt at a party at Lawton 
Kennedy's printing office in May 1961. 

Photograph by Ruth Teiser 
Reproduction rights reserved 

Wilson: Taylor & Taylor, the last book printed by that noble 

firm. Since then I have designed for Limited Editions 
Club The Oresteia of Aeschylus, Nietzshe's Thus Spake 
Zarathustra. and now Christopher Marlowe; Pour Plays. 
The printing of these has been done in the New York 
area, the first by A. Colish, who did some of Bruce Ro 
gers 1 books like his World Bible, and other two by Clarke 
& Way or The Thistle Press as they style themselves in 
honor of Bruce Rogers. 

Teiser: When did you set up here at Tuscany Alley? 

Wilson: This was about January, I960. As soon as we got back 
from Europe I started having the studio built here in 
what had been a work area. I didn't really know how 
things would develop. Eventually I felt very lonely 
without a press. I got the Kelly, which was in storage, 
reassembled again and gradually took on a book or two. 

Teiser: But you 1 re printing very little and designing more? 

Wilson: That's right, especially for Lane (Sunset Books) and vari 
ous university presses. Although right now I've been 
printing steadily for about three months. 

Teiser: Book Club work? 

Wilson: Yes. Horatio Alger's The Young Miner; or, Tom Nelson in 


Teiser: And you're finishing that and going off to Europe? 

Wilson: That's right. 

Teiser: How long will you be gone? 

Wilson: Just one month. The project this time is to collect 
material for a book called the Design of Books, which 
Reinhold, the graphic arts publisher, has commissioned 
me to write. In an advance way, I think, it will dis 
cuss the problems of designing many kinds of books. Origin 
ally I intended it to be a complete elementary textbook, 
which would try to become advanced in its later stages. 
But I'm restricted to 160 uages. At the same time, one 
of the leading American book designers, Marshall Lee, has 
put out a book called Bookmaking and he's apparently done 
a very good job of covering preliminaries and all the things 
a book designer should know. Fortunately I feel free to 
go off into the more interesting problems. (Laughter) 

This book was the result of one of the most interest 
ing commissions I've had, which was working with Lawrence 
Halprin, the landscape architect, on his book called Cities. 

Teiser: Who printed that? 

Wilson: That was printed in the East, published by Reinhold and 
loaded with marvelous photographs. We must have combed 


Wilson: through three or four thousand photographs in order to 
find the five hundred which are in the book. I used a 
rather Swiss approach to the design in this case, a modu 
lar system that would take into account the different 
shapes of photos that you get from the Rolleiflex and with 
thirty-five millimeter film. But it was working in a 
rather different way than I have on more traditionally 
based books, 

Teiser: Can you think of any other subject that should be dis 

Wilson: I still feel that there's a tremendous gap between de 
signing a book and then having it taken by the publisher 
and adapted and used as he wants. Mow in cases like work 
ing with John Goetz of the University of Chicago Press, 
I have confidence that he will carry through whatever I 

Teiser: Have you designed books for him? 

Wilson: I've designed many books for Chicago. Usually they come 
out quite well because he's there to see that things are 
done as I say they should be. We understand what we're 
working for, and it is a generally high standard of book- 
making. Other publishers are constantly tampering with 
design. In particular, some of them have spurious notions 


Wilson: of what will sell, which definitely gets in the way of 
a book which has any unity,. 

This brings up the matter of consulting, something 
I am being asked to do more and more* One of my most 
stimulating assignments was as one of a group of con 
sultants on the design of The World Book Encyclopedia 
for the Field Enterprises in Chicago. Each of us was 
asked to do a critique of the encyclopedia and then to 
meet in Chicago to discuss our recommendations. Among 
the panel were Saul Bass, Ralph Eckerstrom of the Con 
tainer Corporation, our old friends Hermann Zapf, A. R. 
Tommasini who originally inspired the idea with a speech 
he made in Chicago, Bradbury Thompson, Alvin Eisenman, 
etc.... in other words some of the top graphic design and 
production people in the world. But so far they have 
done little about our suggestions. And that is the 
problem with consulting: one's lack of control over which 
of one's ideas will be implemented and how they will be 

Teiser: What was your feeling about the Och book for the Cali 
fornia Historical Society? 

Wilson: Well, that was quite a simple Job to produce, but it 
again brought me face to face with the problems of 


Wilson: working with a large printer, who didn't have any basic 
understanding of fine books, even if he had a plant 
which would perhaps employ a thousand or more people. 
He had no standards of letter spacing or fine presswork. 
But I think as a commercially made book it came out 
quite satisfactorily. It was just a different kind of 
thing from what one handles himself* So I'm toying now 
with a change of policy in which I will have complete 
control of the production of every book I handle. 

Teiser: Will it be possible? 

Wilson: Well, it will simply restrict what books I do, but I've 
never had the problem of too little work. (Laughter) 

Teiser : Restricted to people whom you have worked with, or to 
places that you can reach physically, or both? 

Wilson: People I have worked with previously, I suppose. But, 

controlling the sources of supply myself, so that we can 
insure we get the paper as specified and so on which 
may end up with me doing my own printing again! 



Lecture delivered by Adrian Wilson, 
September 14, 1965 as first of the 
series "Pine Printers and the Book 
Collector, " University of California 
Extension, Morgan Hall, Berkeley 




A series of evening lectures for the librarian, teacher, collector, 

and others who wish to know about fine printing, the sources of 

fine books, and the collectors and collections of fine books in 

California. (* Tuesday, September 14: FINE PRINTERS 


Wilson, San Francisco printer who has contributed much to the 

art of fine printing in California and the West (*> Tuesday, 


FORNIA <*> Jacob Zeitlin, Los Angeles authority on the art 

of the book, and one of the founders of the Rounce & Coffin 

Club which sponsors the annual Exhibition of Western Books ine 

(*> Tuesday, September 28: SOURCES OF LOCAL AND 
Angeles bookseller and publisher of western Americana, whose 
firm has long been associated with fine printing (*> Tuesday, 
FORNIA <*> Richard H. Dillon, author, and librarian of the 
Sutro Library, San Francisco, which houses a distinguished col 
lection of old and rare books, including many examples of fine r 
printing <%j 101 Morgan Hall, University of California, Berke 
ley campus; 8 p.m. <r> Tuition: Series $8, students $4. (No 
refunds after the program starts.) Single admissions $2.50, stu 
dents $1.50. (Single admissions sold only at the door.) <9* Pre 
sented by Continuing Education in Librarianship, University of 
California Extension, and the School of Librarianship, Uni 
versity of California, Berkeley <*> For further information call 
THornwall 5-6000, extension 4559. 

University Extension 
University of California 
Berkeley, California 94720 


Please mail to University of California Extension, Berkeley, California 94720 

Enclosed is a check made payable to The Regents of the University of California in the 

amount of $ to cover _... enrollment(s) at $8, general, and/or 

enrollment(s) at $4, student, for the series FINE PRINTERS AND THE BOOK COL 
LECTOR, Berkeley campus, beginning September 14, 1965. 


last first middle 



city and ZIP code 

Daytime telephone 


Anyone who agrees to give a lecture on fine printing 
illustrated with slides must have a sense of awesome re 
sponsibility, for he is following in the steps of Bnery 
Walker. It was his lantern slide lecture in 1886 which 
inspired William Morris to found the Kelmscott Press, and 
thus the whole modern movement of private and not-so-private 
presses. Might someone in this room be moved to start a 
similar adventure? Would I want to be accountable for the 
inevitable ink-encrusted fingers, late night stands at the 
press, reams of ruined paper, damaged eye-sight and financial 
brinkmanship? For it is a fact that once printing ink flows 
in the veins, the addiction is worse than demon rum! Fortunes 
can be consumed, wives and children sucked into the mania, all 
the graces of civilized living forgotten with only a lead mine 
of worn type and perhaps an AIGA Medal or honorary degree as 
a reward. So if you will all promise not to try to emulate 
any of the feats of daring, any of the profiles in madness I 
am going to describe or show you, I will continue. Just 
treasure the books which have been created by the stout little 
band of Northern California fine printers and offer a prayer 
every night that they will carry on despite computers, tele 
vision, offset lithography, death and taxes. 

But why has my talk been titled "Fine Printers of Northern 


California Since 1934"? In that year appeared under the im 
print of the Book Arts Club of the University of California 
a book by Louise Farrow Barr titled Presses of Northern 
California and their Books 1900-1933. Of course I was still 
In my knickers then, with not a trace of whiskers on my chin, 
but I have been grateful to this book since I first became 
seriously Interested in printing, for giving me an inkling 
that there could be idealism in the field, that the fine book 
printing in California was almost a "movement," and that there 
might be a place for me in it* It also gave rise to the 
spurious notion that there might be a good living in it, 
something which still has to be proven. 

The presses Included with full-scale bibliographies in 
Mrs. Barr's book number sixteen, chosen because they had 
printed "at least one bona fide book or pamphlet*" Of these, 
two turn out to be publishing enterprises whose books were 
printed elsewhere (mainly by the Grabhoras). Others were the 
avocations of a retired high school English teacher, a retired 
realtor, a retired zoology professor, a practicing lawyer and 
the director of publications at a college. They had names 
like The Press in the Forest and The Eucalyptus Press, because 
it was in a eucalyptus grove and The Old Garret Press (guess 
whyi ) and specialized in the travel Journals or random writings 


of their proprietors, with occasional forays into reprints of 
magazine articles. Their titles ranged from "Tire tracks on 
English Roads; an account of how Spike and I discover England 
by 'I'"; or "The acre of the earth turner and whatso the tale 
tells of the master's life-days and undying in the valley of 
the orchards and that land of the wondrous sun"; or "Jacqueline 
of the very near, which is her book and path to the edge of 
the earthless acres and to the wall at the wind's end" (27 
copies on Tuscany paper); to "Fidgety People" and "What Be 
comes of all the Pins..o," Whimsical Reprints No. 1 and 2 
from Harpers magazine of 1851. There are also listed without 
descriptions some ventures which had printed only ephemera, 
like the Churchmouse Press, the Longacre Press which had done 
"The Night Before Christmas" in miniature and the Lilliputian 
Press, "a friendship press, printing greeting cards, announce 
ments, and letterheads." The two University Presses in the 
area, those of California and Stanford, are omitted, "not 
because of any lack of quality in their work, but rather 
because of the variation in aim and scope of their books as 
compared with the books of the presses concerned. The result 
is a study of two kinds of presses, the private press and the 
press which produces fine books," i.e., books conceived in a 
non- commercial spirit, although it is hoped they will pay for 


themselveso Today, I feel, at least some of the University 
productions deserve to be included, both for their interest 
and their influence on the other presses Certainly they 
often pass the non-commercial test! 

Most of the bibliographical listings in Mrs. Barr's book 
are divided among three San Francisco presses: Taylor & 
Taylor, John Henry Nash, and the Grabhorn Press, 150 items 
each. The Windsor Press of the Johnson Brothers and Johnck 
& Seeger which has a later manifestation in the Black Vine 
Press of Harold Seeger, Albert Sperisen and Lawton Kennedy- 
follow with 40 and 25 books respectively. There are also 
short listings for Helen Gentry, who soon moved to New York 
and established the children's book publishing firm Holiday 
House; for the Press of Thomas C. Russell, deceased three 
years before; for Ricardo J. Orozco, primarily a designer of 
books published by San Francisco firms such as Paul Elder & 
Oo.'s Tomoye Press; and for Lawton Kennedy who had Just- 
established a shop in San Francisco, despite the times. It 
was the depths of the depression. 

There is no hint in the Barr book that the depression 
was affecting any of these San Francisco printers. They all 
appear in these pages to be prospering as ever, with patrons 
clamoring for them to accept commissions. John Henry Nash 


is reported to be working on the Vulgate Bible, St. Jerome's 
Latin translation, and "estimates that it will take him about 
twelve years to completeo" In 1932 he had issued a pros 
pectus in elephant folio size, with the title page bearing 
his name latinized as lohannus Henri cus Nashus, printed on 
specially made Van Gelder paper carrying his monogram and 
name in watermark, and bound in marbled boards with vellum 
spine lettered in gold, all in a slip case in marbled boards. 
The price was to be $1000. One of his first paid-up sub 
scribers was Mrs. Edward L. Doheny, and Nash got off a gift 
and a typical broadside to his patroness, set in 24 pt. 
Cloister type: "I, John Henry Nash, printer of San Francisco, 
hereby certify and attest that this is the veritable & first 
set of printer's rough stone proofs of my master undertaking, 
The Vulgate, or St Gerome, Bibleo And I further testify that 
the first and only complete set of rough proofs... was assembled 
for the purpose of presentation to my very good friend and 
esteemed patron, Mrs* Edward L. Doheny. ..Many of my friends, 
and many critics and bibliophiles both at home and abroad, have 
been good enough to express a belief that some of the work my 
hands have produced during more than forty-five years at case 
& stone and press will achieve such immortality as destiny 
may be expected to allot to the always perishable works of 


man... If it does, it will follow that the Nash Bible, the 
most monumental and ambitious of all my undertakingsas it 
was with Gutenberg, Estienne, Baskerville, Co bd en- Sanderson- 
will take its place as an outstanding example of my work. In 
such case, these first proof sheets, forerunners, outriders, 
of the major opus, will be unique, and worthy of this dedi 
cation in admiration and gratitude to Mrs* Edward L Doheny. " 
Unfortunately, with the declining stock market, Mrs. Doheny 
was forced to withdraw her patronage and Nash was forced to 
withdraw from his quarters and magnificent library in the top 
of the John Henry Nash building, on which you can still see his 
name at 445 Sansome Street. Nash accepted a post at the Uni 
versity of Oregon, which had previously honored him with the 
Doctor of Letters Degree. But Nash's impact on San Francisco 
printing still persists in the perfection of craftsmanship, 
the attention to spacing, and the incredibly good presswork 
he exacted from his collaborators. We could use more of his 
perfectionism but as for his super-salesmanship??? 

The firm of Taylor & Taylor, with whom Nash was associated 
from 1911 to 1915, had been doing distinguished books in San 
Francisco since the turn of the century, but with a classical 
simplicity and restraint. Perhaps this tendency was reinforced 
by the younger of the Taylor brothers, who had studied 


typographic design with D. B. Updike at the Harvard School of 
Business Administration,, And indeed there was a similarity 
between Updike's Merrymount Press in Boston and the Taylor 
& Taylor establishment, both of which I had a chance to com 
pare in 1948. There was the same emphasis on the library, on 
the tools of research being a vital part of the printer's 
operation. There was a dignified, well-ordered, highly pro 
fessional atmosphere. It is expressed clearly in "A Statement 
of Policy of This House" issued by Taylor fe Taylor as long 
ago as 191 6, but closely adhered to until the closing of the 
firm a few years ago. "The printer.. .should be deliberately 
selected as being specially qualified, and not chosen among 
a number of bidders on a set of specifications.. .We aim to 
charge fair prices and to plan each piece of work within a 
reasonable cost... the policy of getting competing bids is 
subversive of good taste and good work and is destructive... 
Printing is not a mere commodity. It is an art as well; 
because the creative element enters into every piece of 
printed matter. It is an art that must be practiced as a 
business. " 

This approach brought as customers many of the major 
San Francisco corporations and cultural institutions for their 
special work, annual reports, anniversary books, museum 


catalogues requiring the careful printing of art reproductions. 
Pine book printing was by no means a staple of the firm, al 
though the typographic interest was still strong enough to 
produce a magnificent type specimen book in 1937. By the time 
I became acquainted with the firm, the Taylor brothers had 
retired and it was in the hands of a long-time associate, 
James Elliott, a very capable designer, Robert Washbish, and 
a Mr. Buckley, the superintendent. The full-color publications 
of Standard Oil and P.G. and E. kept a large pressroom humming. 
Most typesetting was done "outside" in trade composition 
houses, like Mackenzie & Harris, and occasionally fine books 
were produced for The Book Olub of California, private patrons 
and finally, its last book, for the Limited Editions Olub of 
New York. Standard Oil, heeding the cost accountants and 
exponents of the three-bid system, decided to switch its 
publications to the offset-lithography process. Elliott and 
Washbish, seeing the handwriting on the wall, decided against 
converting to lithography and sold the plant to Filmer Bros., 
a commercial book printer or more accurately "book manufac 
turer, " capable of competent work but lacking that taste and 
perfectionism which constitutes fine printing. 

The third press described at length in Mrs. Barr's study, 
the Grabhorns, had by 1934- printed a fantastic number of 


charming and noble volumes: The Letter of Amerigo Vespucci, 
which the AIGA awarded its gold medal, the Aesop fables, The 
Santa Fe Trail, and the Leaves of Grass of Walt Whitman, Many 
of these books were illuminated by hand or carried blocks cut 
by the artist Valenti Angelo, giving them the tremendous vigor 
of fifteenth century printing. The types were almost always 
handset in a tremendous variety of styles (Koch, Goudy), the 
paper was handmade and often damped before printing, the 
sheets were handfolded and the books were bound on the pre 
mises, usually in decorated papers created by themselves, or 
once, for the Whitman, in one-fourth inch Philippine mahogony 
boards with a rugged leather spine, the work of William Wheeler. 

I should like to read a short section from an article I 
wrote for the California Librarian on the Grabhorn Press. It 
was handset and printed by them and used as an insert in the 
April 1962 issue. 

In Grabhorn books there is a sense of great 
space and time, of boundless resources, like the 
American West Itself. Somehow it is possible for 
the Grabhorns to lavish on every volume breath 
taking margins, extra colors, kaleidoscopic com 
binations of display types, large text types (1 8 
pt. handset where any printer who employs an 
accountant would use 10 pt. linotype) and vigorous 
initials from the hands of artists like Valenti 
Angelo, Mallette Dean, and Jo Sinel. Always there 
is the surprise of a gift, the presentation of 
something far behond expectation. 


The Grabhorns are first of all book printers, 
then book collectors . Edwin collects also paintings 
and Japanese prints. Bookkeepers they are only in 
extremis. Their work has an opulence which recalls 
the Bonanza Kings and the Three Kings of the Orient. 
The Grabhorn is a horn of plenty, which always stops 
short of being overblown. Its product has grandeur 
which never seems excessive, standing squarely in 
the great tradition of printing. 

But perhaps it would be easier to continue this description, 
which is after all of a visual and tactile experience with the 
help of some slides. .. 

Printers whose work was shown in slides: 
The Grabhorn Press 
Lawton Kennedy, Printer 
Mallette Dean 
Arlen Philpott 
Andrew Hoy em 

Jack Stauffacher (The Greenwood Press) 
William and Barbara Holman 
Henry Evans 

Lewis and Dorothy Allen 
Adrian Wilson 

University of California Press 
A. R. Tommasini 
James Robertson 
Taylor & Taylor 
Brother Antoninus 
Roger Levenson (Tamalpais Press) 


Quoted during slide showing: part of article by Adrian Wilson 
on Lawton Kennedy, Printer, printed by Kennedy and used as an 
Insert in the California Librarian, October 1962. 

To see Lawton Kennedy in action in his orderly, 
modern printing office is highly deceptive. There 
is nothing to account for his exceptional level of 
production in his unhurried movement between the type 
banks, in his contemplative stance as he surveys a 
locked-up form at the gleaming imposing stone, or in 
his nonchalent perch at the controls of a heaving, 
fire-spitting cylinder press* In fact, Lawton seems 
to prefer to leave the monsters to roar at each other 
while he launches into a salty sermon on shoddy work 
manship. But let there be a break in the rhythm of 
the presses, a whiff of ink drying improperly, a hint 
that the systematic progress of the work may be 
interrupted, then the printer is there with a pene 
trating glance, a turn of the hand, a word. The in 
stinctive anticipation of the vagaries of machinery 
has become second nature with him, as has the sense 
of when to do one thing so that another will happen 
in correct sequence weeks or months later* These 
skills have resulted from years of striving to 
discipline materials to good design, from day-to-day 
coping with all varieties of printing surfaces, types, 
presses, papers and content. That there has been no 
erosion of standards and enthusiasms along the way is 
testimony to an extraordinary individuality and 
fortitude. Lawton Kennedy is one of five brothers 
who in 1913 began their long printing careers by 
printing the church bulletin and order of services 
for their father, Alfred J. Kennedy, who at the time 
was a Congregational minister. Pour of them found 
their way into the printing industry in the East Bay. 
Lawton Kennedy came to San Francisco, working first 
in association with Johnok. Kibbee & Co., and later 
printing for John Henry Nash, while with Thomas 
Beatty. With the former in 1926 his fame for im 
peccable presswork became widespread, for he printed 
on a formidable handmade paper and by cylinder press 
an edition of The Rubalyat of Omar Khayyam. Through 
out he maintained a precarious balance between the 


blackest solids and most delicate lines of Illus 
trations and type. Printers were still talking 
about it when I arrived on the scene twenty years 
later. That it was not a momentary tour-de-foroe, 
but the result of solid experience and carefully 
reasoned principle, came out in a famous Roxburghe 
Club debate which Lawton held with Wilder Bentley 
of the relative merits of hand vse machine press* 
It is his belief, expressed so vigorously then, in 
coming to terms with modern methods and equipment, 
his purging of romanticism, hocus-pocus and in 
efficiency that has made Kennedy's press outstanding 
in Western bookmaklng today. 

Conclusion after slides: , 

As you will have noted, running through all these presses, 
as a constant leaven, is The Book Club of California. Somehow 
through its agents planted in all corners of the state, it was 
always aware when a new press capable of meeting its standards 
was started and when it was most in the need of a commission. 
The extraordinary policy of the Club is that it gives the 
printer complete freedom: to choose which illustrator or 
illustrations to use, what format would be best, and what 
style of binding would be most appropriate. This kind of con 
fidence excites in the printer an enormous enthusiasm for the 
job, sometimes more than the budget reasonably allows; and is 
responsible, I think, for the amazing level of its books, now 
numbering 120. How refreshing it is to work with such an 
organization after wrestling with commercial publishers, with 


all their quibbling and manipulation, all in the spurious 

interest of sales. 

There is a Grabhorn Press story which illustrates the 


A fluttery young woman came into the press and asked 
Ed the price of a "Cabeza de Vaca. " Ed said "Twenty 
dollars.," She gasped and said, "What can possibly 
be put into a book to make it worth twenty dollars?" 
Ed got that far-away look and answered, "Lady, all 
my heart's blood and my life's best dreams." She 
paid and left without a word. 




Actor's Workshop, 60 

Aeschylus, The Oresteia. 83 

Aesop, fables of, (Grabhorn Press), 97 

Alger, Horatio, The Young Miner; or Tom Nelson In 

California. 83 

Allen, Dorothy and Lewis, 98 

American Institute of Graphic Arta (A.I.G.A.), 43-44 
Anderson, Tom, 49, 53-54 
Angelo, Valenti, 97 
Archer, H. Richard, 66 

Barr, Louiae Parrow, greases of Northern California 

and their Bo oka 190i -1933. 90-92 
Bass, Saul, 86 
Baatty, Thomas, 99 
Bentley, Wilder. 100 
Bianchi, John, 47 
Black Vine Press, 92 

Blumenthal, Joseph (New York printer), 46 
Book Club of California, 55-56, 96, 100 
Brother Antoninus, SEE William Sverson 
Broughton, James, 33, 38; Songs for Certain Children. 


Bruce, John, 33 
Bufano, Beniamino (Benny), 32 

California Librarian (article on Grabhorn Press), 97 

Cambridge University Press, 76-79 

Carlberg, Glory Palm, 31-32 

Carroll, Rita, 70 

Carter, Harry, 78 

Carter, Will, 79 

Chase, Waldo, 25 

Christopher Marlowe; Four Plays. 83 

Clarice and Way (The Thistle Press), 82-83 

Oolish, A. (New York printer), 83 

Compass. The. 14, 17-1 8, 25, 52 

Conrad, Joseph, Nostromo. 82-83 

Conscientious Objector Camps, in WoWe II, 9-22 

Crutchley, Brooke, 76 

Cur ran, Homer, 60 


Davis, Mrs. Lulu, 34 

Dean, Mallette, 97-98 

Doheny, Mrs. Edward L. , 93-94 

Dove, Arthur Bo, 72 

Dreyfus, John, 76-77; Bruoe Rogers and American 

Typography. 78; Type Specimens FacslrnlTesTYS; 82 
Duncan, Robert, 33 

Eckerstrom, Ralph. 86 
Elsenman, Alvin, 86 

Elder, Paul and Co. (Tomoye Press), 92 
Elliott, James, 96 
Erie, Broad us, 20 
Eshelman, William, 27 
Eucalyptus Press, The, 90 
Evans, Henry, 98 

Everson, William (Brother Antoninus), 14-17, 27, 33, 
67-68, 98 

Fabilll, Mary, 33 *3t 67 
Parquhar, Samuel, 66 
Fellowship of Reconciliation, 4, 9 
Ferrier Theater, 23 

fifteen Letters of Goethe. 48 
llmer Bros, (printer), 96 

Firehouse Repertory Theater (San Francisco), 35 
Franklyn, Roy, 61-62 
Fruge, August, 66, 69-70, 72-73 

Gantner, Neilma, The Story of the Wayfarer and the 

Seafarer. 53-55 
Gentry, Helen, 92 

Gerstle, Sara, Four Ghost Stories. 56 
Gilkerson, Ralph, 45 

Gill, Eric, And Who Wants Peace. 43; 79 
Gleditsch, Arthur Bo, 23 
Glixon, David, 81-82 
Goetz, John, 70-71 > 85 
Goudy, Frederick, 72 
Graves, Morris, 25* 72 
Grabhorn, Edwin, 98, 101 
Grabhorn Press, 30-32, 90, 92, 96-98, 101 
Grabhorn, Robert, 31 
Greenwood Press, 39-41, 43-47, 52, 75, 98 


Halprln, Lawrence, pities. 84 

Harper and Row (publishers), 73 

Harris, Carroll, 40 

Hart, James Do, 56 

Harth, Alice, 38 

Harvey, Robert, 20 

Hedgerow Theater, 19, 22, 61 

Hobart,- John, 33 

Hofmann, Hans, 72 

Holman, William and Barbara, 98 

Holub, Leo, 51 

Hoyem, Andrew, 98 

Ibsen, Ghosts, 21 
Illlteratl. 26-27 
ins/outs, Hyman Swetzoff, 38 
Interplayers, The, 50-51, 62 

Jackson, Joseph Henry, 56 
James, Clayton and Barbara, 25 
Johnck, Klbbee and Co, 99 
Johnck and Seeger (compositors), 92 

Kael, Pauline, 4l 

Kelmscott Press, 139 

Kennedy, Alfred, 57 

Kennedy, Freda, 57 

Kennedy, Lawton, 57-58, 63, 92, 98-100 

Kibbee, Roy, 64-65 

Klbbee, Wallace Jr., (Wallie), 53. 63 

Kibbee, Wallace Sr. (lithographer), 53-55, 63-64 

Klndersley, David, 79 

Koeppler, Jack, 51-52 

Kowalsky, John, 49, 51 

Lancaster, Joyce, 20-22, 24, 25t 30-31, 41 , 46, 

57, 58, 61, 62, 77 

Lane (publishers of Sunset Books), 83 
Lang, Wilfred, 25 
La Paris lenne. 61 


Lee, Marshal, Bookmaking. 84 

Letter of Amerigo Vespucci* The (Grabhorn Press), 97 

Levenson, Roger ( Tamalpais Press ) , 98 

Limited Editions Club of New York, 81-83, 96 

Lind strom, Miriam, Children's Art. 73 

Lurle, Louis, 60 

Mackenzie and Harris (typographers), 39, 79 96 

Macy, Helen, 82 

Mann, Walter, 48-49 

Mark Twain Papers. The. 73 

Merrymount Press, 46-47, 95 

Miller, Henry, 27 

Mining and Hunting in the Par West. 43-44 

Morison, Stanley, 78 

Morris, William, 89 

Mullican, Lee, 48 

My Pirst Publication. 56 

Nash, John Henry, 90, 92-94, 99 

New Directions. 16-17 

Nletzshe. Dhus Spake Zarathustra. 83 

No Exit (Sartre), 30, 33 

Nomland , Kemper, 27 

Odom, Ralph, 24 

Old Garret Press, The, 90 

Orozco, Ricardo J (book designer), 92 

Ovink, Willem, 75 

Pacific Music Press, 29-30, 35t 57 

Patchen, Kenneth, 27 

Pendle Hill (Quaker graduate center), 22 

Pennybacker, Inez (bookbinder), 77-78 

Peters, John (type designer), 79 

Philpot, Arlen, 98 

Phoenix Press, 49, 52, 54 

Phoenix Too Frequent* 58 

Playhouse, The, 62 

Ponch, Martin, 14-15, 17, 19-20, 26, 34-35 

Portfolio of Book Club Printers. A. 43 

Press in the Forest, The, 90 

Printing for Theater. 31, 74, 81-82 

of Speech (William Everson), 67 


Quakers (activities during W.W. II), 9-42 

Rainer, Kurt, 29 

Reiner, Imre, 75-76 

Reinhold (publisher), 84 

Rexroth, Kenneth, 26-27, 32 

Ridler, Vivian, 78-79 

Ritchie, Ward, 16, 66 

Robertson, James, 98 

Rogers, Bruce, 77-78; World Bible. 83 

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The (printed by Lawton 

Kennedy), 99-100 
Russell, Thomas G, Press, 92 

San Joaquin Poems (William Everson). 16 

Santa Fe Trail, fee (Grabhorn Press), 97 

Seeger, Harold, 92 

Shea, Frank, 65 

Sheets, Kermit, 25-28 

Sinel, Jo (artist), 97 

Sperisen, Albert, 92 

SPice Islands Cook Book. The. 38 

Spivock, Charles, 59-60 

Stackpole, Ralph, 32 

Stauffacher, Jack (The Greenwood Press), 39-48, 71, 

76, 98 

Stevenson, Robert Lewis, San Francisco. 56 
Swetzoff, Hyman, 38, 52 
Synge, Well of the Saints. 58 

Taylor and Taylor (printers), 83, 92, 94-96, 98 

Thompson, Bradbury, 86 

Tommasini, A. R., 66, 69, 86, 98 

Tristan and Iseult. 82 

Tryptich for the Living (William Everson), 67 

mmm*******m**^**i***^*^^**^^*^^f*^*^*^^^^^lr n rt 

iimens Fa o similes. 78 

University of California Book Arts Olub, 90 

University of California Press, 66-73 91 , 98 

University of Chicago Press, 85 

Unna, Warren, The Ooppa Murals. 55-56 

Untide Press, 17, 27 

Updike, Do Be (Merrymount Press), 95 


Waldport Co. 0, Camp, 14-19 

Walker, Baery, 89 

Ward e t Beatrice, 78 

Washbish, Robert, 96 

Wezel, Adrian Peter, 1-5 

Wezel, Christine van der Goot, 2-5. 36*37 

Wheeler, William, 97 

Whitman, Walt, Leaves of Grass (Grabhorn Press), 97 

Wight, Frederick 3. (monographs on modern painters), 72 

Wilson, Joyce Lancaster, SEE Lancaster, Joyce 

Wilson, Melissa, 76 

Wilson, Norman Henry, 3 

Windsor Press, The (Johnson Brothers), 92 

ine Keepsake series, ed. by Joseph Henry Jackson, 56 
ood, Charles R. , 5* 56 
Woodcock, George, 32 
World Book Encyclopedia. The (Field Enterprises), 86 

Zapf, Hermann, 86 

ablished quarterly by the Thames Publishing Company Limited, London. 


of California came in 1948, the year I worked for the Greenwood Press, that 
oasis of migrant painters, misunderstood poets, starving calligraphers and 
beautiful girls which Jack S er maintained at 509 Sansome Street, San 

Francisco. One day, while Jack was on the roof sunning himself with his in 
tended, the telephone rang arv .i^Mft. D&C-rjs asked for the proprietor of the 
Press. I told the lady that ?v^ Stauffacher wa^mfortunateiy engaged at the 
moment, but she refu o put off, saying t^jat it concerned looking at a 

led like the gpssibility of the only paying 
>ld on, and scrambled up the ladder 

'and out onto the gravel roof 
owed office buildings. Disen- 

to the Press, Jack was changing 

manuscript for a book Sino^fct so 
job we had had in weeks, I 
in the elevator shaft, throug 1 
with its tarry chimneys and 
tangling Jack, I breathlessly to 
he screamed and bolted down 
By the time his beloved an 
out of his short pants into his longs, combing out his black beard and extracting 
his bicycle from behind the press. Jack never ventured any distance into the 
financial district without his bicycle, a kind of security mechanism from his 
bicycle polo years in San Mateo. But then he decided I would have to come 
along to the Club and told me to put on a tie and scrub my inky fingers. As we 
walked through the canyons of the Wai! Street of the West, I pumped him on 
the nature of this Book Club to which we were headed. Was it an affiliate of the 
Book of the Month Club, with a possible order for 100,000 copies in the 
offing; or was it a vanity pubi iouse for elderly spinsters' poetry? Neither, 

Jack said. The Club's interests were Caiiforniana and the history of prim 
and the editions were strictly limited. They had done some poetry once . - 





10 a\3io xooa 

of California came in 1948, the year I worked for the Greenwood Press, that 
oasis of migrant painters, misunderstood poets, starving calligraphers and 
beautiful girls which Jack Stauffacher maintained at 509 Sansome Street, San 
Francisco. One day, while Jack was on the roof sunning himself with his in 
tended, the telephone rang and a Mrs. Downs asked for the proprietor of the 
Press. I told the lady that Mr. Stauffacher was unfortunately engaged at the 
moment, but she refused to be put off, saying that it concerned looking at a 
manuscript for a book. Since it sounded like the possibility of the only paying 
job we had had in weeks, I asked her to hold on, and scrambled up the ladder 
in the elevator shaft, through the secret trap door and out onto the gravel roof 
with its tarry chimneys and backdrop of windowed office buildings. Disen 
tangling Jack, I breathlessly told him the news. "It's THE BOOK CLUB!" 
he screamed and bolted down the shaft. 

By the time his beloved and I had descended to the Press, Jack was changing 
out of his short pants into his longs, combing out his black beard and extracting 
his bicycle from behind the press. Jack never ventured any distance into the 
financial district without his bicycle, a kind of security mechanism from his 
bicycle polo years in San Mateo. But then he decided I would have to come 
along to the Club and told me to put on a tie and scrub my inky fingers. As we 
walked through the canyons of the Wall Street of the West, I pumped him on 
the nature of this Book Club to which we were headed. Was it an affiliate of the 
Book of the Month Club, with a possible order for 100,000 copies in the 
offing; or was it a vanity publishing house for elderly spinsters' poetry? Neither, 
Jack said. The Club's interests were Californiana and the history of printing, 
and the editions were strictly limited. They had done some poetry once, a set of 

keepsakes, of which he had printed one, and the poets were mostly contempo 
rary. This was a big break, he assured me, for if the job came through they 
I were likely to give an advance. He might even be able to pay me again! 

When we arrived at the Club room on the second floor at 549 Market Street, 
it was hardly the hushed, antiquarian atmosphere I had envisioned. Trolley 
cars were roaring along the four tracks on Market Street, Mrs. Downs, the 
secretary, a charming, gracious lady, was fuming at the addressograph, and the 
walls and cabinets were painted a fashionable brown-gray which I knew as 
"elephant's breath." Mrs. Downs indicated to me a shelf of colorful tomes, 
many of them lavish folios, as the Club's publications to date. While she and 
Jack talked business, I browsed over these productions, my eye seizing natu 
rally on a volume by a poet, Sir Rabindranath Tagore, titled Nationalism and 
published in 1918. Its writing was so vivid and prophetic my opinion of the 
Club immediately rose. And then, lo and behold, there was a book of poems 
by my favorite writer, D. H. Lawrence, titled Fire and Other Poems and printed 
by my idols, The Grabhorn Press. The Club had passed its ordeal by fire! 

The book we were given to print, however, was hardly the avant-garde 
poetry I had hoped The Miner's Own Book it was called and worse, it was a 
reprint. But the advance did serve to hold body and soul together and, in part, 
to make the down payment on a German press. For several weeks we worked 
on separate formats ... I wanted an oblong shape with the cuts in the margins 
but Jack wanted to stay with the simple, vertical scheme of the original book. 
Jack wisely decided on his sounder design. Then the bonanza ran out, and I 
was forced to seek employment elsewhere. 

In 1949 I set up a press in the lobby of the Interplayers' first waterfront 
theatre and the Book Club was not long in hearing about it. Perhaps because I 
had printed a celebrated beer list for the Buena Vista Cafe across the street, I 
was commissioned by the Club to do a book about the murals in an earlier 
Bohemian gathering place, Coppa's Restaurant. The photographs of the murals 
demanded, I felt, the same oblong format I had tried to employ earlier at the 

Greenwood Press. The only difficulty was that my platen press was too small to 
take the paper I had already purchased, so I used the advance to make a down 
payment on an enormous Kelly B Cylinder Press. Only when it was installed 
did I realize I had not the faintest notion of how to set it in motion, much less 
print with it a book up to Book Club standards. Some inquiry around the 
printing industry revealed that the greatest exponent of the art of the cylinder 
press was Lawton Kennedy, at the time resident in Oakland. I sought him out. 
Equipped with all the necessary tympan papers, makeready tissues, pastes and 
knives, Lawton came most graciously to my lobby press evening after evening 
until I, too, was able to bring the monster to heel. 

The book took its decorative motifs directly from the murals a procession 
of black cats, a latticework border and, for the cover, an eyebrow-raising scene 
cut in linoleum by Mallette Dean and printed on red paper of the hue of the 
original restaurant wallpaper. The type was Bruce Rogers' Centaur, my abiding 
passion, and even the paper was Bruce Rogers', a special job lot bearing his 
watermark which Henry Evans, bookseller and handpress printer, had dis 
covered in the East. Mackenzie & Harris were the compositors and Perry G. 
Davis the binder, as they have been in much of my work since that time. 

A few years later when I had moved my equipment to 343 Front Street the 
Club commissioned me to print a keepsake series on The Vine in Early California. 
Halfway through the course, its able editor, Joseph Henry Jackson, suddenly 
passed away, a tremendous loss to the world of books, and for me the loss 
of a true supporter. Fortunately James D. Hart was able to complete the edit 
ing of the series without hiatus. 

After a sojourn as book designer at the University of California Press, during 
which I completed my book Printing for Theater in the evenings, I spent a year 
visiting the typographical centers of Europe, six months of it working with the 
Cambridge University Press. My "J ourna ^ s f a Journeying Printer," heavily 
expurgated by my wife, appeared in the Quarterly Newsletter, and upon my 
return the books and ephemera gleaned on my travels were exhibited in the 

Club rooms. Two years later, and again partially with the advance on a Book 
Club commission, I was able to install the Kelly B in the garden level of my 
home at One Tuscany Alley. Here I produced My First Publication, edited with 
introductions by James D. Hart. Through an exchange of services I secured 
from David Stone Martin, one of America's leading illustrators, twelve original 
drawings of the authors at the approximate age of their first appearance in 
print. This book had at least two distinctions: with its sequence of colored 
papers for the introductions it was undoubtedly the most gaudy Club volume 
to date, surpassing even Tie Coppa Murals', and it probably had the most tip-ins, 
patiently handled by the Schuberth Bookbindery with European finesse. Upon 
its publication it was exhibited at an open-house at the Club together with 
some of my other recent design work: cookbooks, novels, textbooks, paper 
backs, most of them in strictly unlimited editions. If there were any horrified 
members, to them I say, "Vive la difference!" Such uninhibited exhibitions, 
such unfettered publications, and such spirited open-houses can happen only 
at The Book Club of California. Long may it prosper! 

The Book Club of California' s^oth Anniversary Keepsake, 
consists of twelve folders, each printed by or about presses associated 
with the printing history of the Book Club. 


In 1958 a tall, bcardn 

actress wife an- 

was Adrian Wilv>n a 

Francisco. He had been on a rypegnpiM 

Europe and then pent the wtnwi 

Cambridge Li Prea an. 



country village 

On his return 
printing si 
believed that the 
it one, but mtn 
known as one o^ 
His origu 
slender and at n 
Wesleyan Untv 

was eventually to provide the st 

c was one of a jri- 
tfOKs .it a camp in Walcipon, '> 

.tiled Compass, ami W 
very big an. .<! .. 

brndkng over a composiiu 
CVM-P- ft 

dttm. in a pri'.' ' 

mo *"> 


Club rooms. Two years later, and again pan 
Club commission^ I was able to install the 
home at One Tuscany Alley. Here I produc 
introductions by James D. Hart. Through a 
from David Stone Martin, one of America's le 
drawings of the authors at the approxii 
print. This book had at least two distir 
papers for the introductions it was undo 
to date, surpassing even The Coppa Mural. 
patiently handled by the Schuberth B 
its publication it was exhibited at 
some of my other recent design \\ 
backs, most of them in strictly unlim 
members, to them I say, "Vive la differ 
such unfettered publications, and such s 
at The Book Club of California. Long 


advance on a Book 
garden level of my 
blication, edited with 
f services I secured 
, twelve original 
pearance in 

Drawing by David Stone Martin 

of Gelett Burgess for 


The Book Club of 'California 's jOtb Anniversary Keepsake, 
consists of twelve folders, each printed by or about presses associated 
with the printing history of the Book Club. 

Taken From Book Design and Production, Summer 1964, Vol. 7, No. 2. 
Published quarterly by the Thames Publishing Company Limited, London. 


In 1958 a tall, bearded American with his charming 
actress wife and daughter arrived in Britain. His name 
was Adrian Wilson a designer/printer from San 
Francisco. He had been on a typographical tour of 
Europe and then spent the winter working at the 
Cambridge University Press and learning in a small 
country village something of the rigours of British 

On his return to San Francisco he set up a studio- 
printing shop at Number One Tuscany Alley. It is 
believed that the alley had no name until Wilson gave 
it one, but certainly from this address he has become 
known as one of the best printer-designers in America. 
His original contacts with printing were, however, 
slender and at times hilarious. He was a student at 
Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, 


from 1941 to 1943, where he developed a passion for 
the theatre and a mild interest in printing. The theatre 
was eventually to provide the stimulus for his printing 
activity. In 1945 he was one of a group of writers and 
artists at a camp in Waldport, Oregon, which produced 
a magazine called Compass, and William R. Eshclman 
recalls the very big and very young Adrian Wilson 
bending over a composing stone and arranging the 
letters C-O-M-P-A-S-S in an appropriate semi-circle. 
It had been made clear to him why this could not be 
done in a primitive print shop, but he persisted in 
defiance of the composing stick, poured in plaster of 
paris to hold the letters in place and when dry locked 
up the forme. It worked. 

In 1946 he and his wife Joyce Lancaster and some 
friends determined to establish a repertory theatre in 

San Francisco, and a group was formed called the 
'Intcrplaycrs'. Printed material was needed, and perhaps 
the best way to describe the outcome is in Wilson's 
own words: 'When our first productions were ready, 
we needed audiences. I agreed to try to print the 
announcements and programs, borrowing a small platen 
press from a group of anarchists and marijuana addicts, 
paper trimmings from the Grabhorn Press, and a fellow 
actor from the Intcrplaycrs to play the part of the non 
existent press motor. Miraculously people seemed to 
like these handbills, and I soon realised I could turn 
printing to account in supporting both family and the 

The next year on this press Wilson printed his first 
books a volume of poems and a children's song book 
employing old stock blocks. After working for a music 
printer, Wilson joined Jack Stauffacher at the Green 
wood Press. Together they produced Eric Gill's And 
Who Wants Peace? in a monumental format on hand 
made paper using Pcrpetua type; Mining and Hunting in 
the Far West and The Religion of No-Religion. Wilson's 
first acquaintance with the Book Club of California 
came in 1948, the year he worked for the Greenwood 
Press, which he himself has described as 'that oasis of 
migrant painters, misunderstood poets, starving calli- 
graphcrs and beautiful girls which Jack StaufFacher 
maintained at 509 Sansome Street, San Francisco'. 
Again Wilson's own words are best to describe the 
incident: 'One day, while Jack was on the roof sunning 
himself with his intended, the telephone rang and a 
Mrs. Downs asked for the proprietor of the Press. I told 
the lady that Mr. Stauffacher was unfortunately engaged 
at the moment, but she refused to be put off, saying 
that it concerned looking at a manuscript for a book. 

Since it sounded like the possibility of the only paying 
job we had had in weeks, I asked her to hold on, and 
scrambled up the ladder in the elevator shaft, through 
the secret trap door and out on to the gravel roof with 
its tarry chimneys and backdrop of windowed office 
buildings. Disentangling Jack, I breathlessly told him 
the news. "It's THE BOOK CLUB !" he screamed and 
bolted down the shaft'. 

They went off together to the Book Club's offices 
and obtained an order to print The Miner's Own Book. 
An advance enabled Wilson to be paid, but then the 
money ran out and he was forced to seek employment 
elsewhere. But the contact with the Book Club had 
been important. In 1950 he set up a press in the lobby 
of the Interplayers' first waterfront theatre, and the 
audiences could witness typographic as well as dramatic 
performances. The Book Club got to know about the 
press, and they commissioned Wilson to do a book for 
them. It was about the murals in an earlier Bohemian 
gathering place, called Coppa's Restaurant. The photo 
graphs of the murals demanded, he thought, an oblong 
format, but he found that his platen press was too small 
to take the paper he had already purchased. So he made 
a down payment on 'an enormous Kelly B. Cylinder 
Press'. Only when it was installed did he discover that 
he had no idea of how to set it in motion. However, 
with help from Lawton Kennedy, a great authority on 
the art of the cylinder press, he 'brought the monster 
to heel'. The book was called The Coppa Murals by 
Warren Una, and was published in 1952. It was set in 
Wilson's favourite type, Centaur. 

Two years later he moved all his equipment to other 
premises, and soon after moving the Book Club com 
missioned him to print a keepsake series on. The Vine 


| 4"jf> "^fr A it ^ Modern Cosmopolis 


Pnfwh/on /> l/rt 

The double-spread title-page of San Francisco designed and printed by Adrian Wilson for the Book Club of California. 
The original is printed in black and ochre. Page size is 9i" wide by 6|" deep. Lithographic reproductions were by Neal, 
Stratford and Kerr and type-setting by Mackenzie & Harris Inc. The Schtiberth Bookbindery bound the book, of which 450 
copies were printed 


TKe Albion Press 

The Albion Press was the ultimate perfection of the handpress 

r r 

used by Johann Gutenberg. Made of iron instead of wood 

and activated by levers instead of a screw, it was invented about 1820 

by Richard W. Cope, an engineer of London, incorporating 

improvements from several iQth century presses. 

Eventually the Albion became the favorite of the English private presses, 

being the chief instrument of the Kelmscott, Doves and Ashendene. 

Thus the Albion contributed to the typographical renaissance 

of the zoth century. 

1 02 


Early California. Unfortunately, the editor, Joseph 
Henry Jackson, died half-way through the project, 
which was a tremendous loss both to the world of books 
and as a friend to Adrian Wilson. Nevertheless, the 
editing was completed by James D. Hart without 

From his new premises, in the centre of the printing 
industry in San Francisco, Wilson continued printing 
books, playbills and catalogues, and designing books 
for the University of California Press as well as the 
Stanford University Press. In the next few years the 
following books were selected as outstanding by the 
juries for the Western Books exhibitions: The Lion of 
the West and The Pollen Path (both for Stanford) ; Elec 
tronic Motion Pictures; Mark Twain of the Enterprise; The 
Ureterovesical Junction and the monographs, Morris 
Graves, Hans Hofmann, and Arthur G. Dove which also 
served as the catalogues for the national exhibitions of 
these painters (all for the University of California Press); 
Unity Waterman (for the Roxburghe Club); Weldon 
Kccs' Poems 1947-1954, printed and published by Adrian 
Wilson, and finally Printing for Theater, the story of the 
Intcrplaycrs programmes, written and printed and pub 
lished by their printer. This was published in 1957 and 
was selected for the AIGA Fifty Books Show of 1958 
and was acclaimed 'the biggest thing in the show for 
page size . . . imagination and sheer quality . . .' 

In 1959, after Wilson's return from Europe, a 
chronicle of his trip was published in the Book Club 
of California's Quarterly News Letter and also in Book 
Design and Production. 

His announcement that he had set up a studio for 
book design at Number One Tuscany Alley brought 
Wilson commissions from several publishers across 
America, among them the University of Chicago. Three 
of his four books in the Chicago Book Clinic's 1960 
exhibit of Midwestern Bookmaking were done for the 
University of Chicago. One was Greek Sculpture by Rys 
Carpenter, the best book of the show. The two other 
titles : Private Life of. Sherlock Holmes by Vincent Starrett 
and Louis Agassiz: Life in Science by Edward Lurie. (The 
former set in Bodoni, the latter in Baskerville.) Greek 

Left: Part of a broadsheet (original size: 184* deep 
X I2-J-* wide) printed by Adrian Wilson as a 
demonstration for his course in The Development 
of the Book, School of Librarianship, University of 
California on the occasion of a visit by Paul A. 
Bennett. The press employed was the Albion given 
to the University by Roger Levenson. The type is 
Centaur and the woodcut was by Mallette Dean 

Sculpture was most attractive with its handsome title- 
spread drawings by Ray Peterson, and the plate repro 
ductions (by Enschede). The text was set in Bcmbo. 

In 1961, Wilson printed My First Publication for the 
Book Club of California. It was a collection of essays 
by eleven notable Californian authors, present and past, 
indicating how each wrote his first book. This antho 
logy was edited by James D. Hart, who supplied 
introductions to each essay. This book was one of 
Wilson's most engaging concepts; it employed a variety 
of coloured cover papers for the introductions, pen and 
ink drawings of each author by illustrator David Stone 
Martin, plus tippcd-in reproductions of representative 
pages from the original publications. In 1962 he par 
ticipated in the Club's valuable Fiftieth Anniversary 
keepsake series, A Portfolio of Book Club Printers, writing 
and producing one of the folders. 

Limited editions have always interested Adrian 
Wilson greatly, and he has designed three books for 
the Limited Editions Club to date and is currently 
working on another. His first, published in 1960, was 
Tristan and Iseult, illustrated with a dozen paintings by 
Serge IvanofF. This was set in Bembo and printed by 
Clarke and Way in New York. The second commission 
was to design Joseph Conrad's Nostromo, which was 
published in the spring of 1961. This was first discussed 
with publisher and illustrator (the Portuguese artist, 
Lima de Freitas) in Paris two years earlier when the 
Wilsons were in Europe. The book, illustrated with pen 
drawings and set in Bulmer, was the last to be printed 
by Taylor and Taylor in San Francisco, just before that 
distinguished printing office closed its doors. 

The next Limited Editions assignment was to design 
the Oresteia of Aeschylus illustrated with a dozen 
paintings by Michael Ayrton, reproduced in gravure. 
This was printed by A. Colish in Mt. Vernon, and pub 
lished in the autumn of 1961. The text face was the 
special i8-point Janson used by Bruce Rogers in the 
37-volume set of Shakespeare he planned for the Club. 
For the Oresteia American Uncial was used for running 
heads in conjunction with the Janson text, with a hand- 
lettered Uncial by Herbert Marcelin for initials and 
large display hues. 

During the time Wilson was designing books for the 
Limited Editions Club he was also working on other 
titles. Two titles which were selected for the Fifty Books 
Show in San Francisco were: The Sunset Cook Book 
(Lane) ; this was in the 1960 show. It achieved a sale of 
more than 100,000 copies. It was set in Times Roman 
with Cochin heads, and offset-printed by Stechcr- 
Traung. The other book selected for the 1961 show 
was the University of California Press edition of a 
classic, Lectures on the Whole of Anatomy by William 
Harvey. Its handsome title-page was graced with a 


calligraphic panel lettered by Herbert Marcclin; the 
book was set in Janson and printed by George Banta Co. 

As well as being a brilliant book designer and printer, 
Adrian Wilson is also a very good teacher. Ten years 
ago he was teaching typography and printing at the 
California School of Fine Arts, and in 1961 lie prepared 
a course in 'Design for Books and Printing' at the San 
Francisco Art Institute as part of its summer curriculum. 
He has also lectured in the School of Librarianship at 
the University of California, demonstrating printing 
with a hand press. 

We have been able to mention only some of the 
books that Adrian Wilson has produced over the years, 
but in his studio in Tuscany Alley, San Francisco, he is 
always looking forward to his next book. To Adrian 
Wilson, book design is a creative art, and he looks for 
a constant experimental approach and he probes ideas 
to make each book look different. He prefers pre 
planning to design the entire book as a unit, including 

jacket and binding. He enjoys a liberal use of colour 
and seeks the full potential of four-colour process. 

Adrian Wilson is looking ahead. He has a work on 
book design about to be published, he has increasing 
numbers of assignments for annual reports and anniver 
sary and institutional books for major companies. In 
the near future his ambition is to try his hand in pro 
ducing sumptuous volumes in the French manner, 
which combine original prints with a worthy text and 
typography. Sample pages have been prepared for the 
first item in this hoped for scries : The Works and Days 
ofHcsiod, translated by Richard Lattimore, with wood- 
engravings by Imrc Reiner and setting in Centaur and 

Despite his unorthodox entry into the world of 
printing through the stage door, as it were Adrian 
Wilson is the latest in a growing line of great American 
printer-designers, not afraid to absorb ideas from 
Europe, and enriching Europe with their ideas. 

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_ . . . i\ i __ 4 i 

Bringing the 'monster' to heel. Adrian Wilson with his Kelly cylinder press 




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The Castle on Russian Hill 

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An opening of the cheffctuvre of Adrian Wilson Printing for Theater (San Francisco, 1957). Consisting of 
fifty-seven generous pages, 15 J* deepxio" wide, it carries no less than twenty tipped-in announcements 
and programmes printed by Wilson for the Intcrplayers. The end-papers reproduce a programme for 
Hamlet, and in the binding is a pocket containing more programmes. Wilson printed 250 copies. In the 
Prologue he tells how he became 'Printer to the Interplayers'. He writes: 'This sly imprimatur has appeared 
on some of the printing for this theater as evidence that, though the Dukes of Parma, the Count Kesslers, 
the William Andrews Clarks are gone from this world, the printer may invent his own patron'. The 
original programmes tipped-in the book are vivid examples of Wilson's skill as printer and designer, 
particularly when it is realised how crude at times his equipment was. The very first Intcrplayers' announce 
ment (1947) was printed on a hand-operated Challenge-Gordon press in the tool-shed of an old mansion 
occupied by a group of anarchists and marijuana addicts. There was only one type case of Bcrnhard Gothic 
available, and Wilson felt the need for some extra type face. It was then he discovered the 'miracle of trade 
composition shops' and had some words set in Ultra Bodoni. The paper used was red wrapping paper. 
A copy of Printing for Theater has been deposited by Mrs. Beatrice Warde in the St. Bride Printing Library, 
Fleet Street, London, where it may be examined. 


Book Designer, 
Printer & Publisher 


One of my earliest printing memories is of Adrian Wilson, very big 
and very young, bending over the composing stone, and arranging the 
letters C-O-M-P-A-S-S in the appropriate semicircle, from which he 
intended to print a letterhead for the periodical of that name. It had 
been made clear to him why this couldn't be done in our primitive 
print shop, but he persisted in his defiance of the composing stick, 
poured plaster of Paris to hold the letters in place and when it was dry 
locked up his form. It worked. 

That was in 1945 in a C.P.S. Camp at Waldport, Oregon, where a 
group of writers, artists, musicians and others interested in the arts, 
spurred on by the poet William Everson (now Brother Antoninus), 
had gathered to learn from each other and produce what they could in 
the time left over after their 48-hour work week planting trees for the 
U. S. Forest Service's reforestation project. Besides the Compass, their 
productions included a literary magazine, The Illiteniti, a number of 
books of poetry over the imprint, The Untide Press, plays, chamber 
music concerts, paintings and handcrafts. / f 

Adrian Wilson is among the notable "alomni" of "The Fine Arts 
at Waldport, " and the incident described above captures some of the 
qualities which have characterised his success : the placing of design 
above technical difficulties ; the search for typographic form to suit the 
content ; the experimental and inventive attitude ; and the full exploi 
tation of the medium. 

In 1946, with his wife, the actress Joyce Lancaster, Adrian kept a 

rendezvous with some equally foolhardy and impassioned friends de 
termined to establish a repertory theater in San Francisco. The new 
group was christened "The Interplayers." Serious and experimental 
plays of the Chekhov-Shaw-Lorca variety were chosen for presenta 
tion, rehearsals went on in basements, living rooms and recreation 
halls, and the resulting performances enlivened the Quaker meeting 
house. Meanwhile Adrian was concocting and executing an extraordi 
nary series of mailing announcements, posters, tickets and, most i 
portant of all, programs to fit the bills. Long an opera town, San 
Francisco was suffering a post-war theatrical doldrums, and the gradual 
growth of the present much-publicised San Francisco theater renais- 

sance must be credited in part to the building of audience at 
through the work of Adrian Wilson. 

At the outset, Adrian produced these intriguing pieces on a bor 
rowed press by arrangement with its owners, a group of anarchists who 
acquired it for the occasional issue of a broadside or their literary peri 
odical, The Ark. Paper for the programs and announcements was begged 
from the scrap and trimming pile of The Grabhorn Press and one or 
another of the Interplayers acted as a stand-in for the motor which the 
press never had. 

In 1947, on the same press, Adrian printed his first book, a volume 
of poetry by Hyman Swetzoff, published by Bern Porter, entitled 
Ins/ Outs. Concurrently he printed a set of poems for James Broughton 
called Songs for Certain Children on colored construction papers, employ 
ing old stock cuts and, for the covers, original children's paintings, 
commissioned from his wife's nursery school. After working briefly 
for a music printer, Adrian joined Jack Stauffacher a/ the Greenwood 
Press. Together they produced Eric Gill's And Who Wants Peace? in a 
monumental format on handmade paper with Gill's Perpetua type 
handset; Mining and Hunting in the Far West, i8jz-i8jo, a Fifty Books 
of the Year choice; and The Religion of No-Religion. 

When in 1950 The Interplayers acquired its first playhouse, at Hyde 
and Beach Streets, Adrian moved a small Challenge Gordon platen 
press into the lobby, where the audiences could watch its programs 
being printed before curtain time. Soon a Colt's Armory Press sup- 
Gordon and a Washington Hand Press was added for his- 
mly to give way to a Kelly B Automatic Cylinder Press. 
ks were produced in the lobby, ranging from The Coppa 
Club of California to The Scholar Dunce for Swet- 
en removed as a galleryman and occasional publisher to 


Boston; from Picasso, Painter and Engraver for the international 
script and book dealer Erwin Rosenthal to collections of verse and 
ghost-written ghost stories, issued under the imprint Adrian Wilson, 
Printer at the Sign of The Interplayers. At the same time the Univer 
sity of California Press began commissioning book designs (an assocfe- 
ation which continues to the present) for equally diverse titles such as 
Herman Melville, a Biography, one of the Fifty Books of 1952, Napoleon 

the Dardenelles, an AIGA Text Book Show selection, and The Self in 

chotic Process. Many of these books, when they were printed in the 

st, were selected for the Western Books shows. 

1954 The Interplayers moved to the old Bella Union Theater on 
iy Street and Adrian set up his equipment at 343 Front Street, 
e center of the printing district. There he continued printing 
, playbills, catalogues etc. and designing books for the Univer 
sity of California Press as well as the Stanford University Press. In the 
next few years the following books were selected as outstandingly 
the juries for the Western Books exhibitions : The Lion of the West and 
The Pollen Path (both for Stanford); Electronic Motion Pictures; Mark 
Twain of the Enterprise; The Ureterovesical Junction, and the monographs 
Morris Graves, Hans Hofmann, and Arthur G. Dove which also served as 
the catalogues for the national exhibitions of these painters (all for the 
diversity of California Press) ; Bully Waterman (for the Roxburghe 
Club); Weldon Kees' Poems 1947-1954, printed and published by 
Adrian Wilson ; and finally Printing for Theater, the story of The Inter- 
layers programs, written, printed and published by their prrnter. 

With Printing for Theater we come to Adrian's original 
a mos%-t>table contribution to the art of book-making. Mr 
Glixon, former chairman of the Trade Book Clinic, in coi 
the AIGA Fifty Books Show of 1958 (Publishers' Weekly, 
1958) had this to say: 

My impression is that the current show is the best in recent y< 
Nearly half the selections would be outstanding in any company ; 
five of them provide that glow of pleasure you get from a great pi< 
of acting, a favorite painting or that almost perfect book. 

Here are the five that "send" me: "Printing for Theater", the 

gest thing in the show for page size... imagination, and sheer quality... 

In both design and production, "Printing for Theater" is a work of 
art. While its great size is functional, permitting the inclusion of a 
score of tipped-on theatre programs, this volume would retain most of 
its beauty even if you cut the format by a third, printed its 64 pages in 

just two colors on less costly stock than handmade Tovil, and bound it 
in standard cloth instead of in handwoven Belgian linen. ... His bril 
liant use of Stempel'sTrajanus display type with Caslon Old Style text 
(iS on 22), his unconventional spacing, his impish yet purposeful dis 
position of illustrations they all help to add an authentic and exciting 
masterpiece to the roster of American books. (End of rave ; see it for 
yourself 1) 

The following year the Wilsons and their daughter spent in Europe, 
he visiting printers and designers, working with the Cambridge Uni 
versity Press, and delving into the typographical history of the play 
bill, and Miss Lancaster attending the theater and studying French. 
Upon their return to San Francisco, Adrian set up a studio for book 
design and sent out an announcement. This promptly brought com 
missions from several publishers across the country, among them The 
University of Chicago Press whose Greek Sculpture, designed by Adrian, 
received the top rating in the Chicago Book Clinic Exhibition this 
year, one of four of his designs selected. 

A recent choice for the Fifty Books of the Year is Tie Sunset Cook 
Book (Lane Book Co.), also chosen for the Western Books show. Two 
recent titles of The Limited Editions Club are Adrian Wilson designs , 
The Romance of Tristan and. Iseult, and Conrad's Nostromo. The latter was 
printed in San Francisco by Taylor & Taylor (see the insert in the July 
1960 California Librarian) and, lamentably, is the last book to be pro 
duced by that famous house. 

Currently, Adrian's course at the San Francisco Art Institute in 
"Design for Books and Printing" is part of the summer session cur 
riculum. His studio-printery is involved in the production, for The 
Book Club of California, of My First Publication, a compilation of ac 
counts by eleven California authors of their first appearances in print, 
edited by James D. Hart. The Oresteia of Aeschylus for the Limited 
Editions Club is in process at the Press of A. Colish, Mount Vernon, 
N. Y., printer of some of Bruce Rogers' most noble volumes. Design 
for The Spice Islands Cook Book has just been completed, as well as The 
First Century at the University of Washington. Further investigation of the 
history of the playbill, French edition deluxe production and the typo 
graphical conference at Lurs, in southern France, will probably take 
Adrian Wilson abroad again in the summer of 1962. The exchange of 
ideas, stimuli and methods in the world of book-making on the inter 
national level has become a major concern. We await with anticipation 
the books which will result.